Leadership Support and Coaching

Cheryl has advised and supported presidents/CEO’s and Board Chairs for over 20 years.  She works with university presidents, board chairs and governance professionals to assist them individually in navigating governance challenges and to improve their governance skills and address governance challenges at their institutions.

Cheryl offers an annual advising retainer which includes twelve hours of coaching/advising on governance matters.  This can be structured to best accommodate the client’s individual schedule and interests.  This retainer is particularly helpful to new leaders and those facing specific governance challenges.

Consulting Services

Cheryl provides a full range of services and supports to university clients.

Here are some of the situations in which Cheryl’s clients have sought advice and support:

  • To review the governance model and identify opportunities for improvement and modification.
  • To improve board effectiveness, relationships, and/or engagement.
  • To ensure that the board meets its obligations in a specific situation e.g. the organization is looking to undertake a large transaction (partner with another organization, acquire a piece of property, build a new building) and wants to understand the governance impact and role of the board.
  • During a difficult period such as organizational restructuring, termination of the employment of the President or CEO, conflict with a stakeholder  or partner, litigation, or other organizational crisis.
  • Change in organizational direction or strategy.
  • To mentor board members.

Training, Education, and Assessment

An effective way to improve board functioning is through training and education sessions.  Cheryl will work with your governance professional to design a training program to respond to specific concerns. In addition, offer training in the following specific areas:

Short Programs

The following are examples of short 90 minute to two-hour sessions to be offered alone or combined to make a half-day session:

  • The Board’s role in equity, diversity, and inclusion
  • Board recruitment with a focus on planning, diversity, and balance
  • Board communications and stakeholder engagement
  • Routine approvals: is your board asking the right questions?
  • The Board’s role in crisis management
  • CEO/Executive Director/President performance management

Board Assessment

One of the best things a board can do is reflect on its own performance, discuss it, and set goals to improve it.  Cheryl will design a self-assessment tool, administer it, and deliver a session in which the board will discuss the results.  Ideally, this assessment process will be repeated at regular intervals (annually or every two years), and will result in a list of goals and steps to be taken to address performance concerns – these goals and plans to address them become your board’s governance improvement plan.

Board Policy Development

Cheryl will work with you to prepare a framework for board policies and procedures to improve board effectiveness.  A policy framework helps the board articulate its direction and operational practice and also delineates what is board business, committee business, and what should be delegated to the organization itself.  This can be expanded to draft specific board policies and procedures.

Working with You

As a board or board governance professional, you play a vital role in ensuring that your organization fulfils its role and mandate.  The role of a board is a challenging one and the task of taking on a leadership role in a board can be daunting.  Fulfilling these roles is crucial to the success of your organization. Having worked with boards for over 20 years, Cheryl is passionate about the role the board plays and about helping boards improve their effectiveness. Cheryl looks forward to working with you.


We understand that university budgets are constrained.  As such Cheryl’s rates are discounted for universities.  Programs are offered on a discounted fixed price basis.  Please contact Cheryl to discuss your consulting needs and budget.

Now Available

A certificate program in governance for university governance professionals through the Centre for Higher Education Research and Development (CHERD).

Visit our events to find out more.

It is a best practice for universities to review their governance practices.  I was pleased to work with my project partner Dr. Julia Eastman to conduct a comprehensive review of Dalhousie’s governance.  This review arose from its most recent strategic planning exercise.  Dalhousie is to be commended for recognizing the importance of effective governance to the realization of strategic goals.

Read the publicly-available Governance Review Report here »
Download the PDF Here »

The Book

This book introduces you to the aspects of university governance that are unique. It’s a book intended to help you learn about the sector more quickly so that you can contribute more fully and feel more engaged.

Contact Cheryl to Discuss Your Governance Questions