Beyond Buzzwords: Crafting a Vision for Safe and Equitable Enterprise AI

As board members, we grapple with formidable challenges in overseeing AI governance to ensure responsible and ethical implementation. Instances of biases and discriminatory outcomes in AI systems, particularly in hiring and financial processes, demand our attention to uphold fairness. The escalating complexity of AI decision-making processes raises concerns about accountability and transparency, necessitating our proactive addressal. Recognizing the urgency in navigating data privacy challenges to comply with regulations and prevent potential misuse of personal information, we must align our AI strategies with evolving global legal frameworks to avert legal repercussions and reputational risks.

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Cybersecurity Reporting – Board Expectations

Chief security officers must communicate with the Board in a risk-focused, business-aligned, and data-centric manner to inspire confidence in management.

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Best Practices for Boards

The Consequences of the OpenAI SAGA Continue to Evolve

There has been a lot of news about OpenAI in the past few months. 

The three objectives of this blog are: to 1) share the extraordinary risks of AI; 2) give a little history on the company OpenAI, as well as the stunning ouster and reinstatement of their CEO; and 3) most importantly, explore best practices for board members in case they encounter a situation similar to the ones faced by OpenAI’s board.  We'll focus on two key aspects of board governance: first, when the board feels that communication from the CEO is not consistent and hampers their ability to fulfill their responsibilities; and second, the considerations involved in evaluating the removal of a CEO from office.

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PDA Celebrates Tenth Anniversary of Excellence in Private Company Governance

Commemorating a Decade of Enhancing Private Company Value

Chicago, Illinois, Feb. 13, 2024 – The Private Directors Association (PDA), the only national association dedicated to improving private companies' growth and sustainability through board governance, is proud to announce the 10th anniversary of its founding. Established in 2014, PDA has flourished into a burgeoning national ecosystem, counting over 3,300 business executives, corporate members, and sponsors whose shared mission is to advocate for excellence in private company board formation and governance practices. 

Reflecting on the organization's accomplishments, Elaine Eisenman, PDA's Board Chair, remarked, "I am honored to chair the PDA Board of Directors during this landmark year in PDA's history. Since our inception in 2014, we've strived to serve private companies across the globe with the resources to sustain their growth through excellence in board governance practices. The Private Directors Association extends heartfelt gratitude to the founding members whose vision and dedication paved the way for our future success." 

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The Art of Asking Questions

A Key Competency for Board and Advisory Directors

The ability to pose incisive questions is not merely a skill; rather, it is an art form.  Used in company governance, it wields transformative influence over the trajectory and vitality of an organization.  As a seasoned board director, I have borne witness to the profound impact that the art of questioning can have on steering effective decision-making, fostering transparency, and cultivating a culture of accountability and innovation.  In this article, I seek to delve into the profound importance of mastering this art for board directors, drawing insights from the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) 2023 Blue Ribbon Commission Report, "Culture as the Foundation: Building a High-Performance Board."


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How to Begin the Discussions: Age, Race, LGBTQ+

Questions to Ask in the Boardroom

  1. How does your board handle discussions about age, race, or the LGBTQ+ community, since these groups help to diversify a board?
  2. What are old and new baselines for boards to consider about age, race, and the LGBTQ+ community as they diversify the board?

The Establishment of Old and New Baselines for Establishing Diversity on a Board

The original guidelines, or baselines, are described in a book where the authors address separate areas (Miller, F. A., & Katz, J. H. 2002. The Inclusion Breakthrough : Unleashing the Real Power of Diversity. San Fransisco: Berrett-Kohler Publishers).  The book also addresses what have emerged as new baselines in these areas. I have used their descriptions as a starting point and expanded upon them based on my own professional experience to provide the description of old and new baselines that will follow in this article.  

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Private Directors Association (PDA) Nashville Welcomes Marc Wolfe as President

Wolfe’s proven success in transforming leadership approaches and perspectives promises to elevate the PDA Nashville Chapter to the next level of visibility and impact.

Nashville, Tennessee – January 30, 2024 –The Private Directors Association (PDA) is delighted to announce the appointment of Marc A. Wolfe as the President of its Nashville Chapter. With a rich history of leadership and a commitment to enhancing private company impact, Wolfe brings a wealth of experience and expertise to guide the Nashville Chapter to a level that matches the city’s growth.

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Governance in an Age of Perpetual Change

Our world is experiencing the acceleration of systemic changes with unprecedented consequences to our capacity to make sense, know, and exert control over nature and one another.1 In January 2000, the late Stephen Hawking- who is regarded by many as one of the most impactful theoretical physicists of all time- stated that the “next century will be the century of complexity.”2 Today, we live in a hyper-connected world with unprecedented access to knowledge that fuels the perpetual creation of new technology, boundless choices, and unlimited possibilities. This change in dynamic directly affects boards of directors.

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Historical Statements of Affirmative Action and Where DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) All Began

Questions to Ask in the Boardroom

  1. What do you know about Affirmative Action and what was the result of it?
  2. What were the concepts stated in Affirmative Action documents that would form a greater appreciation of identity groups such as age, race, gender?

Introduction

In this article, I will provide a brief summary of historical statements about Affirmative Action and references that offer more information on Affirmative Action. The concepts stated in the presidential orders were to establish a more equitable society and allow us to utilize the valuable human resources we have in the United States. When studied, Affirmative Action allows each of us to focus on promoting the human rights of all people in the United States. 

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The Nexus of AI and Cybersecurity: Safeguarding Private Company Governance

In today's digital age, where every company increasingly relies on data and technology, the intersection of artificial intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity is a critical and evolving battleground.  As organizations navigate the complex landscape of threats and vulnerabilities, the role of AI in enhancing cybersecurity is going to increase and as a result will impact private companies and their governance.

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Five Cs - Storytelling as a Communications Strategy

Research by Forbes shows that delivering messages via storytelling can be up to 22 times more memorable than merely relying on just facts.  And that's the reason to have this educational conversation on the Five Cs of great storytelling.  To get going, let’s take a walk through each of the Cs and consider the different process steps that transform the delivery of a message through the art of great storytelling.

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Internal Audit: Your Secret Weapon for Enhanced Governance and Strategic Advantage

In the complex and ever-changing world of business, private company boards of directors face a multitude of challenges, from navigating regulatory landscapes to mitigating emerging risks. In this dynamic environment, internal audit emerges as a critical asset, providing invaluable insights and guidance to enhance governance, strengthen operations, and achieve strategic objectives.

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Hot Topics for AI Governance

Consider that OpenAI’s ChatGPT is … barely a year old.  Yet recently, there’s been tremendous focus on AI (Artificial Intelligence) and regulating it.  The key question is what does, and what will, AI oversight mean to board members in the short and long term?

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The Purpose of Values to Support the Board's Mission Statement

Questions to Ask in the Boardroom

  1. What are five values that are defined and utilized to support the board’s mission?
  2. How do board members identify their actions and behavior in the board meetings that show appreciation for the board values?

Taking the Next Step

I have another exercise I do with boards that continues the process of bringing members together by helping them to coalesce around a common set of values.  These board values are based on board members first identifying their five most important personal values and then identifying a set of shared values from everyone’s personal values meant to guide the actions of the board.

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An Owner’s View of the Audit Committee

Private companies typically do not audit their books unless an outside party requires it. Audits are a material expense and require great effort.

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AI Equity: A Strategic Necessity for Boards in the Private and Public Sectors

The ascent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) from a mere buzzword to a transformative powerhouse has been swift and all-encompassing, spanning various industries. Yet, this progress has brought to the fore a crucial concern – AI equity. Once a subject of philosophical debates, AI equity has evolved into a strategic imperative that resonates deeply within the domain of corporate governance. Beyond its ethical dimensions, AI equity now encompasses legal adherence, strategic significance, and the nurturing of stakeholder confidence. This piece delves into the multifaceted significance of AI equity for both private and public company boards, examining its strategic implications, legal obligations, and its role in fostering transparency and accountability.

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Staying Current on AI

AI is here to stay, and it’s incredible. But it also comes with terrifying risks that we’ve heard about in the press including IBM’s Watson, who debuted on Jeopardy in 2011, and then later in 2021, in the Healthcare space, failed sometimes under 50% of the time against human clinicians.  (https://www.theregister.com/2022/01/31/machine_learning_the_hard_way/). 

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Strengthening Private Company Governance: Embracing the Significance of Security Frameworks

In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, the governance of private companies faces unprecedented challenges in safeguarding sensitive data, maintaining customer trust, and complying with an array of regulations. As technology continues to transform industries, the importance of a robust security framework cannot be overstated. This article explores the significance of adopting reputable security frameworks, such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) framework, in the governance of private companies.

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Private Directors Association Appoints Debra McGuire as President & CEO

Renowned Association Management Executive Chosen to Lead National Association Dedicated to Serving Private Company Boards and Directors

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How To Start the DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) Conversation in the Boardroom

Questions to Ask in the Boardroom

  1. Each board member has resources to bring to the discussion and interactions of a board.  What ways do board members contribute to the diversification of board discussions?
  2. What concerns do board members express about being a diverse board?
  3. How does telling personal stories about their experiences with DEI help to create an environment where the board members will share more about diversifying the board?

Introduction

As an Organizational Development professional, I have over 50 years of experience designing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives and providing programs for boards and their organizations.  One of the most important actions I can take is to find a thoughtful way to identify how the personal histories of the board members can be a resource in the initial stages of a DEI effort to create a more diverse board.  This article will give you ways to open the discussion about personal histories and resources that are present in your board.

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