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Building better boards

Gardiner Centre at forefront of business education in Canada

By Susan White

Provincial business executives are taking part in a nationally recognized program to help them become better board directors this week at the Gardiner Centre.

For the first time in Newfoundland and Labrador, the centre is offering the ICD-Rotman Directors Education Program (DEP) with the second training module taking place from Jan. 30-Feb. 1.

Brian Hurley, left, Gardiner Centre director, and Karen McCarthy, participant in the Directors Education Program.
From left, Brian Hurley and Karen McCarthy, a participant in the Directors Education Program.

“This program is offered nationally at Canada’s top business schools to help board directors clarify their governance mission and fulfill their board leadership role,” said Brian Hurley, director, Gardiner Centre.

“Offering this program here in St. John’s keeps us at the forefront of business education in Canada.”

The Gardiner Centre is part of the Faculty of Business Administration at Memorial, offering management and professional development training to individuals and organizations in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Only program of its kind

The DEP is delivered over four three-day modules that offer practical learning through lectures, real-life case studies, board simulations and peer-to-peer learning.

Jointly developed by the Institute of Corporate Directors and the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, the program attracts high-calibre participants from some of the country’s most renowned public, private and Crown corporations.

Graduates of the DEP program may also receive the ICD.D designation upon completion of a written and oral peer-review exam. This designation denotes a director’s commitment to excellence in the boardroom through ongoing learning and development.

The DEP is the only program of its kind in Canada to bear this seal of the directors’ community.

‘Immediately applicable and beneficial’

Leo Power completed the DEP program at the University of Toronto in 2009.

Mr. Power is chief executive officer and director of Ptarmigan Energy Inc., executive chair of Barite Mud Services Inc., and director of Canada Fluorspar Inc. and Search Minerals Inc. He serves on the board of directors for the Institute of Corporate Directors’ Newfoundland and Labrador chapter as well as the Nature Conservancy of Canada and is the province’s vice-chair of the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies.

“The ICD.D credential quickly positions me as a highly qualified director in the pool of potential candidates.” — Leo Power

“The Directors Education Program provided an education that was immediately applicable and beneficial to the businesses and organizations I am involved with,” he said.

“I’ve been able to submit my CV to the institute’s national registry that matches directors with businesses and organizations seeking board directors. The ICD.D credential quickly positions me as a highly qualified director in the pool of potential candidates. DEP alumni are part of a national network of 4,300 directors and there are over 11,500 ICD members across Canada.”

Hone and equip

The DEP is Canada’s leading program for experienced directors, offered in 11 cities and with a network of more than 4,000 graduates coast-to-coast. St. John’s is the second city in Atlantic Canada to host the DEP. The first program to be launched in the region was in Halifax in 2014.

“Delivering this program at the Gardiner Centre allows us to offer directors in Newfoundland and Labrador the opportunity to hone their skills and better equip them to handle evolving challenges in directorship,” said Mr. Hurley. “It also allows us to engage with senior business leaders and let them experience the Gardiner Centre and the type of programs we deliver.”

“An education in professional corporate governance is being warmly welcomed in our province.”  – Leo Power

“The Gardiner Centre at Memorial is the logical choice to offer the DEP, given its proven success as an executive education centre,” said Mr. Power. “The DEP is offered at some of Canada’s top business schools and Memorial has an excellent business faculty.

“The Gardiner Centre has always had a focus on serving the needs of all regions of our province and offering the DEP is an important and cost-effective way for businesses and organizations throughout the province to avail of Canada’s best corporate governance program,” Mr. Power continued. “It’s also a wonderful benefit that the DEP is available for private, public and not-for-profit entities. Clearly, an education in professional corporate governance is being warmly welcomed in our province.”

‘Right here at home’

Karen McCarthy, director, communications and corporate affairs, Fortis Inc., and chair of the province’s Institute of Corporate Directors chapter, is a participant in the inaugural program at the Gardiner Centre.

“I’ve been involved with the Institute of Corporate Directors for several years. I’ve learned lots through its professional development program but knew it was time to do the “real” thing with the celebrated DEP program — right here at home.”

The first module of the program was delivered in October 2016. Two more modules will happen in the spring.

“The cross-section of people — from surgeons to lawyers — is a real gift in the world of learning.” – Karen McCarthy

“It’s been absolutely fantastic,” said Ms. McCarthy. “The cross-section of people — from surgeons to lawyers — is a real gift in the world of learning. The most important part of the program for me is case studies and reflecting on what all participants have to offer. Their experiences are invaluable.”

Mr. Hurley says the Gardiner Centre is working with the Institute of Corporate Directors and Rotman to explore offering this and other programs at the centre in the future.


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