Board Chair & Executive Director Partnership Program 2020

The success of your organization begins with your Board Chair - Executive Director team.

Building and nurturing this dynamic relationship must be a priority. It is an important and powerful resource that can be leveraged in support of the organization’s mission. 

Research shows that achieving high trust and a productive partnership between the Board Chair and ED is possible when the following behaviours are consciously developed – flexibility, give and take, dialogue, frequent check-ins on the relationship not just tasks, reciprocity and aligned vision & purpose.

Our Partnership Program was created to help EDs and Board Chairs design their working alliance to create a relationship rooted in trust. When misalignment, misunderstanding and/or distrust occur in the relationship, it impacts the culture of the board, can be felt in board meetings and can produce harmful disengagement. However, when this partnership flourishes, it creates the conditions for a high-performance board governance culture and produces transformational outcomes for the entire nonprofit.


  • Strengthen your organizational culture. 
    Design a working alliance that will ensure both parties are well supported and can thrive in their roles

  • Discover your Strengths. 
    Introduction to Strengths Based Partnering

  • Build trust. 
    Create conditions for a high trust relationship

  • Increase effectiveness. 
    Clarify expectations that inform roles and responsibilities

  • Design effective and constructive communication.
    In a shared leadership model the board chair and executive director must work collaboratively to manage conflict and support strategic decision-making


  • Two sessions (½ day each)

  • A CliftonStrengths assessment for each participant and other resources to support learning and skill development

  • Each Board Chair & Executive Director Partnership will select 2-3 intentions for action in between sessions

  • Tips for effective Board meetings with a focus on agenda preparation, how to present recommendations, and facilitate good discussion to support strategic decision making

  • Networking with other local directors


(Note: Bursaries must be granted before you register)

Thanks to the Willy Van Klooster Nonprofit Governance Scholarship, we are able to offer this program at 50% off to 10 organizations in our community that fit the criteria. 

The Willy Van Klooster Nonprofit Governance Scholarship was developed to honour Willy's exemplary leadership in board governance as the founding and long-serving chair of Pillar Nonprofit Network. Through the experiences of past recipients, we learned the deep value of strengthening the relationship between the Board Chair and ED. At Pillar, we promote it as a key best practice that Board Chairs and Executive Directors have some intentionality around their relationship. 


Organizations are eligible to apply for the award if they meet the following criteria:

  • Operating budget of $500,000 or less
  • Registered Nonprofit
  • Board Chair and Executive Director must be at both sessions
  • Must be Pillar Members 
  • Must submit application form
  • Available to 10 organizations

Please complete the bursary application before registering. Upon completion we will review and reply with registration details (including discount code). Bursaries are first come, first serve. 

To apply, click HERE.

Incoming or established Executive Directors and Board Chairs 


Janet Frood is the founder of Horizon Leadership and is an internationally certified executive, leadership and team coach. She partners with her clients as they explore bold transformation in their life, leadership and organizations. Prior to becoming a coach, Janet worked for 20 years in the nonprofit sector in higher education, health care and consulting. She was an Executive Director and has also been a Board Chair and on many Boards. In her practice, she coaches ED’s and Board Chair partnerships as they design their working relationship to maximize their alignment and support conditions for highly effective governance. Janet is also a proud member of the Innovation Works London community. 

Thank you to our 2020 Learning & Development Sponsors:

Western Continuing Studies and Fanshawe Corporate Training Solutions

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