Feedback from our Alumni

Doris Honold
Doris Honold, GCB.D

Non-Executive Director at Credit Suisse International, Chair of Board Risk Committee, London, UK

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

I joined the Competent Boards Certificate Program because I was very impressed by the curriculum as well as the high-profile speakers. As a new-ish NED I was keen to get more familiar with the key challenges boards grapple with.

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

A fantastic network of NED’s, excellent discussions and intellectual stimulation on the most current and pressing issues facing boards.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

Yes and already have. It is a well thought through course, it has an excellent mix of pre-course preparation and in-class training. It provides a fantastic collection of relevant reference material, which I am actually using in my NED work.

Judith Mosely
Judith Mosely, GCB.D

Non-Executive Director of Galiano Gold, BlackRock World Mining Trust and Women in Mining UK, and Trustee of the Camborne School of Mines Trust

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

I was looking for a program that would give me insight into a broad range of ESG topics and to hear from leading experts who are at the forefront of thinking in sustainability.

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

Up to date thinking on ESG – real time – including discussions on the impact of COVID-19 and the opportunity to discuss with the experts and fellow CB participating board members in our case study groups. This gave me the opportunity to interact with and learn from board members in different industry sectors which I found really valuable.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

I have been incredibly impressed by the scope and depth of the program. The materials are extensive and topical and the CB organisation under Helle’s leadership is really professional. It’s been a really enjoyable 6 months.

Poonam Madan
Poonam Madan, GCB.D

Director, Sustainability Strategy and Reporting, Capital Power

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

Competent Boards provided me an opportunity to learn from global leaders on a variety of environmental, social and governance (ESG) topics like climate change, ethics, cybersecurity, diversity and inclusion, as a few examples. Sustainability is an increasingly complex and ever-changing and coupled with the pandemic I wanted to ensure I had the most current tools to help provide effective and strategic ESG leadership that would support value creation, resiliency and open up opportunities for the company.

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

I feel the program has enhanced my effectiveness in providing leadership on environmental, social and governance topics which is needed especially in today’s increasingly complex and ever changing business environment.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

The structure of the program allowed me to learn from experienced global leaders through a variety of learning tools through online interactive sessions, current and relevant videos and podcasts, as well as a comprehensive list of readings. I was impressed by how Helle and her strong team at Competent Boards integrated COVID-19 in the sessions illustrating how the program is meticulously maintained and kept current. The digital sessions were held biweekly and allowed me to have direct access to highly regarded and respected global leaders every session – I have not seen that wealth of experience and engagement in any other program related to this topic making the program exceptionally unique. Additionally my cohort of very senior and executive leaders brought their experiences forward and the structure of the program allowed us to share our ideas in a very pragmatic way, only enhancing our learnings.

Katie Schmitz Eulitt
Katie Schmitz Eulitt, GCB.D

Director, Investor Outreach at SASB – Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, USA

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

The COVID19 pandemic has brought the world to a standstill and has been devastating for millions of people around the world. What better time than months of quarantine for self-reflection and improvement? When I learned of the Competent Boards Certificate Program, I knew it would be time well-spent. Why? Competent Boards was founded and is led by Helle Bank Jorgensen, a true pioneer and thought leader in sustainability. She has crafted a thoughtful curriculum and tapped thought leaders from across the world to dig into some frankly tough issues – delivered in a way that (even prior to COVID) respected the needs of busy people to meet digitally rather than in person (with the added benefit of reducing GHG emissions related to travel).

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

The Competent Boards program draws upon the experience of international thought leaders at the intersection of society’s changing values and related heightened expectations of corporations, their management and boards of directors. While I understood these issues from the perspectives of investors and sustainability practitioners, the view from (and challenges in) the board room was new to me.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

I highly recommend the Competent Boards Certificate Program. The case study based program puts one in the proverbial shoes of corporate board members re-examining the strategies and practices of the companies of which they are stewards related to ESG issues which many corporate boards are currently ill-equipped to do. Whether you are a newcomer to considering the impact of companies on society and the potential impacts of ESG issues on the value creation prospects of companies or consider yourself to be an expert on these issues, this certificate program is well worth your time and investment.

Louis-Martin Richer
Louis-Martin Richer, GCB.D

Senior Vice President, Marsh Canada

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

The traditional curriculum for Board members and the senior management team is changing at a rapid pace. Being financially literate and understanding basic corporate governance rules is not enough anymore. The rapid currents of change are prompting a need to continuously rethink the interaction with all stakeholders. The program provides guidance and thoughtful exchanges with subject matter experts and key business leaders from all around the world. I joined not to become the subject matter expert but to learn about the changes, the trends, the challenges and what should be worked on personally and professionally to be attuned to the needs of business and communities in the future.

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

First and foremost, access to a unique community of practice that doesn’t exist elsewhere. This program forges a bond between leaders and board members spread across the world, who are eager to share and bring organized change that is accretive not only to companies but to communities we live in. The depth and breadth of experience shared has provided a reflective roadmap for continued learning to refine skills and add value in a meaningful and thoughtful way in future discussions namely in matters of sustainability and diversity.

Would you recommend it to others, and why?

This program is a must for all who want to learn more and share views with people all around the globe. The curriculum is balanced in terms of sessions and workload. It is simply custom made for people on the go that have no time. Moreover, this community places sharing of knowledge as it’s central value, something that we often are reluctant to do in highly competitive environments.

John McMillin
John McMillin, GCB.D

Board Member, Act II Global Acquisition Corp. (Symbol ACTT), Limited Partner, Lord Abbett & Co. LLC Jersey City, N.J

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

I signed up for the program because I was going on the Board of a publicly traded company and needed help in governance and related issues. The ESG movement had begun well before COVID 19 but the virus has accelerated the development and I wanted to be more educated about it.

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

More than anything the program has taught me how to ask the right questions as a Board member. I have heard in the past that if you don’t measure it then it won’t matter to senior management. There is truth in that statement and ESG issues need to be better measured by Boards. I think this program helps me identify the most relevant variables to be measured.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

Of course I would recommend it. Once you get in the routine of 11AM EST every two weeks you start to look forward to it and prepare for it with enthusiasm. Will miss it.

Dianne Saxe
Dianne Saxe, GCB.D

Environmental Lawyer and the Former Environment Commissioner of Ontario

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

I joined the program to improve my credentials for sitting on the boards of corporations with significant climate pollution footprints and vulnerabilities.

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

The content of this program was excellent. The speakers were outstanding world leaders in their fields, and it was a real privilege to have them join our conversations after their talks. The quality of the participants was also unusually high, including senior directors from major companies around the globe with first-hand experience of complex corporate ESG challenges. The combination of speakers and participants made each session a detailed and illuminating examination of these challenges, with no place for lazy assumptions. The overall effect was both eye-opening and encouraging.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

Yes, I definitely recommend this program for senior people who already have a general understanding of E.S.G. issues at the board level, but wish to examine their assumptions, update their knowledge, broaden their understanding, and expand their networks.  I also recommend that board chairs should seek to have at least one Competent Board certified board member if their board is facing significant E.S.G. challenges.

Mark Pfister
Mark Pfister, GCB.D

CEO and Chief Board Consultant

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

In my search for a robust and specialized ESG program, Competent Boards is clearly the gold standard. Board Directors today face unique challenges in the areas of environmental protection, socially-elevating inclusion, and transparent governance – education is the first step in achieving meaningful progress in these important areas.

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

The Competent Boards ESG Certificate program is unique in its approach of combining real-world sustainability expert insights, international standards on ESG performance measurement, socially responsible investing (SRI) trending, the effects of ESG-related legislation, and counsel on how to effectively report to investors and stakeholders.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

Board Directors have not only a duty of care, loyalty, and obedience, but also an obligation to continuous learning. This ongoing learning is most effective when it offers both personal and professional benefits when applied. Deep understanding of ESG is definitely one of those special knowledge areas that elevates ‘diversity of perspective’ leading to ‘diversity of thought.’ This is an important conduit to create in strategic positions and needs to be paramount in Board architecture considerations to ensure outstanding company results.

Cathy Goddard
Cathy Goddard, GCB.D

Chief Executive Officer, FyreFem Fund Managers

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

South Africa has been through a tough time and a series of governance failures. As corporate citizens and private equity/impact players, it’s so vital that we make a difference in our ecosystems. The Competent Boards program was an ideal place for me to gain exposure to international best practice in ESG, so that I could bring this back home into our South African boardrooms and organisations.

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

I learnt so much about how to operate at board level to manage risks relating to ESG issues. Our online classroom/cohort learnt how to ask the right questions to obtain meaningful information from management and encourage management to approach strategic decisions with an ESG lens (that is far more varied and impactful than I had imagined and with varied and unpredictable risks). I found the practical question lists for board discussion with management, on each issue, immensely valuable, and I will keep these lists as reference material.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

I would definitely recommend the Competent Boards Certificate program because of the diversity of thinking that comes through in each session from global participants who operate in a wide variety of sectors and geographies. The programme is well run and thoroughly researched, and filled with relevant live information and case studies. I have been exposed to thought leadership that I would not otherwise have had access to.

Be at the forefront of ESG, sustainability & climate risks and opportunities.

Soledad Matteozzi
Soledad Matteozzi, GCB.D

Argentine and New York Attorney, Counsel at Alfaro-Abogados (Argentine law firm) based in NY. Executive Director at the Argentine-American Chamber of Commerce (based in NY)

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

Environmental, Social, Governance has become crucial in today’s world, and this relevance accelerated with the pandemic. I joined the Competent Boards Certificate Program to get a deeper understanding of all the areas that ESG encompasses and to learn from the experience and knowledge of peers around the world. After doing research on other programs available this program had all I needed: flexibility (an online platform that you can take from home or anywhere), global perspectives provided by a talented network of experts, interactivity, and current and relevant content.

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

I gained insights, awareness, and competence on the most pressing ESG issues at the moment, I am able to understand and identify all risks and opportunities associated with ESG and I am already making use of this knowledge when advising my clients.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

I will highly recommend this program; it’s a top world-class resource to deepen your understanding of ESG issues that should be part of all companies’ agendas and strategies. I found this program to be unique since there is nothing quite like it in the market. It provides online flexibility; it is thought-provoking and action-driven, and very interactive. It gives you the opportunity to engage with CEOs and world leading experts in ESG gaining invaluable insights. The global component and interaction between participants and speakers from around the world was one of the best values for me. I learned valuable insights from colleagues and experts coming from different countries and industries, which is crucial in today’s interconnected world. The program materials and content provided has also been carefully curated and are very current, and is a very helpful tool for navigating complex issues that you can implement right away. I strongly recommend the Competent Boards program to anyone looking to generate a positive impact and more responsible and sustainable performance in our business community.

Robert Celik, GCB.D

Growth and Partnerships Lead, Genecis Bioindustries Inc.

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

I joined the Competent Boards Certificate Program to prepare for the next decade of corporate decision making. In a rapidly changing and increasingly interconnected world, good corporate governance is essential. Through this program I sought to refine my decision making process to be more proactive, holistic, and representative of all shareholders and stakeholders. I was able to join the recent cohort thanks to a generous scholarship offered by TELUS.

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

The program broadened my horizons to consider multi-stakeholder perspectives. I now feel prepared to manage in a way that is aligned with internal and external stakeholders’ interests and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). I plan to utilize learnings from this program to de-risk the future, evaluate opportunity costs, and make better decisions.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

Companies that will win the 2020s need to be focused on creating new forms of value for society in addition to shareholder value. This reality requires comprehensive approaches to governance and decision making, and accountability for the allocation of resources. Competent Boards teaches good corporate governance by bringing together a community of leaders from across industries and fully immersing you in complex real world situations faced by corporate boards. It is my opinion that all key decision makers in future-facing organizations should make it a priority to experience this training.

Jacob Knudsen
Jacob Knudsen, GCB.D

Board Member at Plura Consulting & Head of Business at MyBlueLabel

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

A business connection recommended me to participate. Furthermore, it is relevant to my position.

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

Experience in presenting complex subjects and a global network of people interested in Sustainability and Leadership.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

Yes, I would certainly recommend it to others – I believe that a Board position can make a massive impact in this world. Thanks to Competent Boards, I can ask the right questions to make a positive impact.

Leesa Muirhead
Leesa Muirhead, GCB.D

Strategy and Development Lead with the World Benchmarking Alliance

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

In order to be intelligent and confident in the board room, you have to understand the issues and know what you are talking about. With an entrepreneurial, strategic and sustainability sector background, I was keen to further develop my experience and abilities – gain new wisdom and learnings – to confidently provide independent oversight and constructive observation at a Board level. I was specifically seeking a programme that deep dived on a broad range of themes and offered practical insights.

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

The programme widened my horizon in creation of value – both to the management of a company and its stakeholders. I feel equipped, confident and therefore, a better candidate for professional practice at a board level. To be able to connect with so many great minds – from the contributor’s expertise and their breadth/depth of knowledge to the calibre of my peers – really brought this programme to life. The sharp focus on developing board level governance with a sustainability lens, has solidified my belief that values driven leadership is a force to harness, to influence business for the better.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

The Competent Boards Programme is a highly focused and great virtual learning experience. Using practical examples and learnings, the programme frames critical issues to enhance the performance of the board and company. The insightful bi-weekly materials offer a fantastic review of essential topics spanning governance, ESG, supply chain, human rights, ethics and tax (and more!). The virtual sessions bring diverse, thought provoking and inspiring content and people, in an engaging and interactive format. Curated in a thoughtful and dynamic way, I highly recommend Competent Boards.

Bryan Buggey
Bryan Buggey, GCB.D

Director, Vancouver Economic Commission

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

Several reasons:

1 – First, I was already impressed by Helle’s work at the SDG Global Compact Network Canada that she had founded.  So, when she reached out to me with this new program, it was an easy decision to make.
2 – Secondly, I am always looking for an opportunity to make a positive impact and I feel that, given my stage of career and work experience, I am ready to apply that impact-thinking at the board level.  It’s time.
3 – Finally, I had signed up to the Canadian Climate Law Initiative as an expert to speak to Boards about their fiduciary responsibilities around climate risk.  Given this new commitment, I felt it important that I improve my knowledge about the Board’s role and how they might positively impact an organization’s environmental footprint and GHG reductions.

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

I’m fairly focused on climate and the economy and how the two can work together as opposed to work against each other.  So, it was quite refreshing to get an education on other aspects of governance such as anti-corruption, diversity, human rights, cybersecurity, taxes, etc.  I feel much better prepared to put my name forward to contribute as a board member now.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

I would absolutely recommend Competent Boards to others.  Why?  I believe that a well-rounded board that has ESG values engrained in them can have tremendous influence on senior management for any company in any industry.  While there has been tremendous momentum from a grass-roots, bottoms-up approach to demand more change, I believe that complementing the voices for change with strong board-level governance will effect change even faster for the benefit of all stakeholders and society at large.  This is the most important movement of our generation and corporations must move faster, especially in the absence of effective governments.  When I recommend the Competent Boards program to individuals, I am inviting them to land on the right side of history.

Thy-Diep Ta
Thy-Diep Ta, GCB.D

MBA (INSEAD), Mindfulness Trainer (SIYLI), Executive Coach

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

Having met Helle Bank Jorgensen at WEF in Davos 2019 and hearing her share about her works towards driving more conscious and competent board leadership, I knew that I couldn’t find a better program to learn about how to integrate topics I care deeply about (e.g., SDGs, ESG, Diversity) into strategic governance. If you want to drive change in an organization, you need to be able to speak in the language of those overseeing and guiding the organization.

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

This program helped me understand how to think like a board and how to identify the relevant questions from a board oversight perspective. This helps me prepare for my own board meetings in a structured way, providing me the tools (vocabulary, concepts) to communicate with my board in a way that helps them understand the business relevance and risk mitigation potential of good corporate governance.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

Highly recommend joining this wonderful program. My group of peers were fantastic; curious, inspirational and ambitious change-makers in their fields and from all around the world. The guest speakers were brilliant and provided spot on answers to any of our questions. The Competent Boards program is just one entry point into a vibrant community of people who dare to envision a business world beyond profits, and most importantly, who already implement these changes as pioneers in their own organisations.

Upgrade your ESG Competencies with the knowledge that investors, nomination committees, and recruiters are looking for

Andrea Palmer
Andrea Palmer, GCB.D

Responsible Investment Lead, Listed Real Estate, PGGM, Founder and President of Net Impact Amsterdam

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

I joined the Competent Boards Certificate Program to dive deeper into how boards consider sustainability through a governing lens. Boards had always been a bit of a black box to me, so I wanted to participate in this program to demystify who they are, what they do, and what motivates them. Without the buy-in of the board, sustainability ambitions will always fall short, and this program offers a platform to open the conversation.

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

The Competent Boards Certificate program opened my eyes to how board directors think, approach challenges, and probe management to present situations through different lenses. I have a much clearer picture on what boards need to be convinced on sustainability topics and how they should be involved. Also, the cohort network, as well as the guest speakers, will be valuable assets going forward.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

Yes, I would certainly recommend the program to others. The program presents the right tools, background, and perspectives to be an informed corporate board member and to better understand the roles of sustainability in strong and effective corporate governance.

Maria Jamriska-Mulder
Maria Jamriska-Mulder, GCB.D

Senior Advisor, Central Risk Management, ABN AMRO Bank and Co-owner/Director, Apollo Capital VoF.

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

While considering participating in similar programs at business schools, I came to the conclusion that the Competent Boards program was, considering the high level of faculty members, (by far) the most advanced, forward looking and practitioners’ oriented program in my preparation for possible board -positions.

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

My timing was perfect. The considerations for me to join the Competent Boards program were only reinforced by the Covid-19 impact on society, economy and the role of the financial sector. The insights, oversights and perspectives have definitely strengthened my mindset towards the need for integrated opportunity, risk and impact thinking, acting and reporting, with the SDGs as a lighthouse.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

Definitely, not only will I recommend the program to my peers, but would also like to come back one year from now as the pace of the sustainability place is fast moving and dynamic.

Jan-Maarten Mulder
Jan-Maarten Mulder, GCB.D

Founder, Summer Capital

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

Its broad range of topics, including ESG, transparency, diversity, climate, etc, is unparalleled and the format is ideal to dive into each of those issues. In addition, the speakers, background information and cases are excellent and very topical. I have gained practical insights that I deploy in my board work already.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

Having considered several executive board programs, I am glad I chose to participate in the ESG Competent Boards Certificate Program. Highly recommended for any board member!

Juvarya Veltkamp
Juvarya Veltkamp, GCB.D

Director, Canada Climate Law Initiative

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

I truly believe that corporate success and prosperity is compatible with creating a just and sustainable planet – if corporations put people and planet at the heart of business strategy. Sustainability is no longer a nice to have public benefit; it is intimately correlated with future cash flows, as brought home by the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure.

To augment my 23-year career in sustainability, I completed the Competent Boards certificate program because it provides valuable tools and resources I can use to help boards and corporate stakeholders fully understand and execute on their fiduciary obligation related to climate change.

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

A paper from leading researchers at Harvard, MIT, Google, and Microsoft last year discussed the numerous ways technology is helping to fight climate change, but they closed by saying “technologies to reduce climate change have been available for years, but are still not deployed at scale”.

The Competent Boards certificate program has given me the tools and language to understand better systems of decision making so that we can finally overcome this inertia. As a result of the Competent Boards Certificate Program I can work more effectively with government policy makers and corporate stakeholders to navigate one of the most fundamental economic shifts of our time.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

I would absolutely recommend the Competent Boards certificate program to anyone who is interested in how we ensure human prosperity while staying within planetary limits. In addition to offering an excellent program including excellent seminars, high-caliber speakers, compelling case studies and indispensable tools, the Competent Boards certificate program has expanded my professional network to now include a cohort of world-class change makers and international business leaders.

Jennifer Garrett
Jennifer Garrett, GCB.D

Founder, JG Consulting Services, LLC

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

I joined the Competent Boards Certificate Program because of my interest in ESG and leadership. As a business management consultant, both areas are critical to continuous improvement and long-term success to me and to my clients. The Competent Boards Certificate Program is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to dig deep into these areas with other leaders engaged in areas outside of my food and agricultural sector.

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

The Competent Boards Certificate Program provided an in-depth view of business risks and opportunities related to sustainability in the business world. Most importantly, it helped me to see the important questions to ask to help businesses and boards embrace the value of incorporating ESG into all aspects of the business. The invited speakers were ingrained in current business and policy issues, thus always bringing a current, real-world view to address current challenges while always looking to the future for opportunities.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

I would highly recommend the Competent Boards Certificate program to others! Especially to professionals interested in providing meaningful change to the boardroom, businesses and society. The extensive information available for each of the 12 classes is thought-provoking for board members and aspiring board members, plus anyone with a desire to be a leader in addressing global ESG challenges. The depth of the materials, the case studies and the interviews with experienced global leaders (live and on video) stimulated very interesting dialogue from differing business perspectives. The program is organized in a way to make the material challenging yet applicable to one’s own business situations.

Achieve the Global ESG Competent Boards Certificate and Designation

Stephanie Catalano
Stephanie Catalano, GCB.D

Director of Financial Reporting for MasTec, Inc.

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

To learn about, deepen and broaden my understanding of Sustainability and ESG matters, as I had recently become involved with Sustainability initiatives within my organization.

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

The Competent Boards program comprehensively explores the broad subject matter of Sustainability, as well as how it has developed over time and considerations for the future. The incredible panel of speakers, along with thought-provoking presentations, insightful preparatory materials and collaborations with participants from across the globe in a virtual classroom are a powerful combination. Each session was jam-packed with relevant topics and actionable items, and reflected real-life current news and events. The Competent Boards program provided me with the knowledge and resources to be able to apply the learning in real-time.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

In this dynamic environment, Sustainability and ESG matters are increasingly at the forefront. The Competent Boards program equips you with a robust toolkit, and challenges you to think in an innovative, big picture and forward-thinking manner. A top-notch experience!

Peggie Pelosi
Peggie Pelosi, GCB.D

Executive Director, Innovators Alliance and Board Member, USANA Health Sciences

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

As a new Corporate Board member with a background in CSR, I have seen the increased awareness and emergence of ESG oversight as an important role for directors. The Competent Boards Certificate program provides extremely valuable ESG education which is not available through any other Director education program that I am aware of.

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

The roster of International guest speakers brought very relevant and current insight into the ESG risks and opportunities that the business world is facing globally. The quality of the speakers was excellent. The guest speakers along with the diverse profiles of the global participants in the program created an extremely valuable perspective on the growing ESG considerations for all boards. As the program progressed, I realized that my understanding of, and ability to identify the risks and opportunities associated with ESG issues had increased dramatically. The program enhanced my skill and confidence in providing ESG oversight on a corporate board.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

I would highly recommend the Competent Boards Certificate program to anyone that currently serves on a board, is interested in becoming a board member and/or reports to a board. The content of this program has been brilliantly curated to focus on the critical growing ESG issues that Boards are facing and will continue to face – and is not available through any of the traditional Corporate Director certifications that I am aware of. Thank you Helle and the Global Competent Boards team!

Tamara Somers
Tamara Somers, GCB.D

Senior Advisor in the Chief Sustainability Office at Telstra

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

My current role involves preparing a significant amount of information on ESG issues for our Board and investors. I wanted to gain a better understanding of what my audience is looking for when I provide this kind of briefing, and how these issues play out at a broader strategic level in the Board’s and investors’ thinking.

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

The Competent Boards Certificate program gave me a thorough grounding in the full spectrum of ESG issues considered by Boards, and how those issues can be embedded into business strategy to drive accountability for deliverables. The nexus between strategy, executive compensation and ESG performance became much clearer to me as a result of the program. I also gained incredibly valuable insights from peers and thought leaders around the globe. In Australia, we are sometimes disconnected from or lagging behind international trends, but most of our institutional investors are based in other markets. As such, it was really helpful to understand how these markets are thinking about ESG issues and what the expectations of our major investors are likely to be in relation to disclosures and ESG strategy.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

I recommend this program unreservedly to anyone who sits on a Board, is preparing to do so, or advises Boards on ESG risk and strategy. It’s such a great program that I spent six months getting up in the middle of the night to do the online sessions. The opportunity to connect and interact with peers from around the world is unique, as is the chance to learn from some of the most senior and experienced people in this space. Whenever my colleagues would look at me and ask “why are you doing this course when you have to get up at 2:30am?” I would respond with “because I got to spend an hour and a half learning from someone I would never otherwise meet”.

Sanjay Khanna
Sanjay Khanna, GCB.D

Foresight Advisor, Former Futurist at Baker McKenzie

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

I am already advising non-executive directors. As part of my professional development, I wanted world-class training to bring a comprehensive range of knowledge and expertise to my board advisory toolkit.

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

Helpful and deeply informed knowledge and insight from some of the world’s leading board directors, strategists and advisors.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

Yes, without reservation. The Competent Boards team is completely committed to excellence and innovation in leadership, knowledge and learning at a pivotal time in human history. Today, the global commons and the corporate landscape are threatened by environmental, social and governance issues. These include the climate emergency, global health, socioeconomic disparities, cyber security and data privacy. Competent Boards strives to answer the question: How are boards to govern responsibly in such a potentially value-destroying global context?

William Surphlis
William Surphlis, GCB.D

Managing Partner, Brooklin Consulting

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

I looked at the content and the schedule and felt it was exactly the content I wanted with input for global experts, and the schedule of every two weeks online with a global class was very appealing.

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

I am now well researched on all the topics covered and feel capable of delivering a more comprehensive service to our clients.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

I have already recommended the program to individuals in my network that I feel would benefit from the course and the Certificate. The value that you get from this course with the sustainable delivery model Helle and her team employ is dollar for dollar one of the best investments in Professional Development I have come across. As an aside I also had a lot of fun meeting people from around the world that share my passion for making a positive impact in the world we operate in. My hope is that we will stay connected and when I visit their countries we can meet un-virtually and when they come to Canada they look me up.

Lynette Gould
Lynette Gould, GCB.D

Senior Vice President, Investor Relations & Corporate Development, Bullfrog Gold Corp.

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

With the continued increase in funds under management within investment firms targeted towards sustainable investment and my role as head of Investor Relations I felt it was vitally important I find a course that could provide a very comprehensive overview of the matters related to ESG. This would then allow me to understand more fully what investors are looking for and be able to incorporate the information into our external communications.

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

I feel now I have a much better understanding of the key matters surrounding ESG. I found the videos by various leaders in the space thought provoking and the readings were very helpful to round out the course.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

I would highly recommend the Competent Boards course for anyone at the board or senior executive level. The topics covered were highly relevant to every company and really help broaden an individuals’ knowledge in each of the areas of environment, social and governance. The speakers that were on each module were leaders in their areas and it was a huge benefit to get their perspectives over the 12 module course.

Learn with and from world-renowned leaders and build a global network without having to travel

Julie Hansen
Julie Hansen, GCB.D

Global Executive Advisor, Salesforce

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

As a global executive advisor, my role is to be a divergent thought leader who can consider and advise on current challenges facing corporations and how emerging technologies can play a role in meeting those challenges.

It has been clear to me for a few years that there is increasing pressure on companies to consider success factors that go beyond financial success and shareholder value. Successful companies of the near future will be the ones who become purpose driven and generate impact aligned with environmental, social and economical goals. These companies will be the ones that will enjoy long term sustainable success attracting customers, talent and investments through being aligned with the growing body of these influential stakeholders.

Helle, an expert global advisor confirmed my thoughts when she invested the time and secured a willing group of global experts to create the Competent Boards curriculum as a means of spreading essential guidance and insight to more leadership.

This course covers material topics from ESG demands to climate challenges to cyber security to governance giving board members and advisors relevant education that can be applied to board agendas and priorities as a strategy for long term corporate success.

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

The course covered a range of relevant topics that are current and relevant to my role as an advisor. It broadened my mind and provided increased clarity around how essential it is for boards to welcome education and insight on a broader set of material topics that may affect long term sustainability of the business. Diversity of thought at the board level will help to mitigate risk including new risks that are surfacing as expectations and our world evolves. This course feeds that diversity of thought.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

Yes, I recommend this course. It educated me on why certain topics are growing material to a company’s longevity along with how to broach the subjects as a responsible advisor with a long term lens for success.

Vibeke Bak-Solok
Vibeke Bak-Solok, GCB.D

Board member CO-RO and Danica Pension Norway, Former EVP and COO for Group Risk Functions, Danske Bank

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

In the financial sector, as in many other highly regulated industries, a changed mindset on sustainability & ESG will help boost client engagement and enable better client advice. By simplifying processes and building strategies with sustainability in mind, companies can develop a more robust risk appetite and culture, ultimately building employee satisfaction and creating long term value across generations.

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

The Competent Boards Certificate programme gave me valuable knowledge on sustainability, ESG, and how global leaders are working to change the mindset of individuals across a variety of industries.

Katie Dunphy
Katie Dunphy, GCB.D

Director, KPMG Canada

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

As an experienced sustainability professional, I’m always eager to find opportunities for continued PD and education that provides more insight into the evolving needs of Boards. The flexible program design also really suited my needs – engaging videos, course materials and group discussions that were relevant, current, and business focused.

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

I’m really pleased with the breadth of topics that were covered, and the expertise shared. I now have a more well-rounded understanding of the individual course topics and their importance to Boards. CB also helped me to think through challenging dilemmas and case studies to identify the types of questions to ask and points to raise to help further develop productive discussions.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

I absolutely would and have shared with colleagues. The content is excellent and delivery is practical.

Anna Tudela
Anna Tudela, GCB.D

Former Vice-President, Diversity, Regulatory Affairs and Corporate Secretary, Goldcorp Inc.

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

I have known Helle for over 5 years and have great admiration for what she has done and is doing on the ESG front. When I heard about the program and her vision I was sold. In my role as Corporate Secretary of a major mining gold company I’ve seen board members not asking the right questions and management not providing the whole story. This program enhances your knowledge on ESG and brings it to a new level. It provides you with views and experience from world business leaders and experts.

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

It was inspiring! It has provided me with the tools and skills to identify, articulate and ask the right questions or bring to the attention of Management environmental, social and governance issues that are not being taken into consideration on board presentations, and more important, to make members of management think about all these issues.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

Absolutely, in my opinion, every company should consider asking at least one or two of their board members to enroll and attend this program. I have identified a few people who will benefit from the program and have already made my recommendations. I will continue to do so as we need more people to understand and act upon ESG issues now.

Lee Kindberg
Lee Kindberg, GCB.D

Head of Environment, Health, Safety and Sustainability for Maersk Line in North America

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

The Competent Boards program is a unique opportunity to learn from global business leaders and those who originated foundational concepts like the Sustainable Development Goals. I felt I needed to take my understanding of these concepts and global best practices to the next level.

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

The program was incredibly rich and deep, with opportunities to interact directly with global leaders in leading businesses, NGOs and agencies. As a result I’ve found increased sophistication in my thinking about these issues and in the information and thoughts I provide both internally and externally. Thank you Competent Boards for the opportunity to grow and learn in this program.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

Yes, and already have. The quality of the speakers and materials is exceptional, and the execution of the distance learning concept is the best I have ever experienced.

Elissar Sarrouh
Elissar Sarrouh, GCB.D

CEO of Expert Consulting on Governance; Vice-President of the Canadian Association of International Development Professionals

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

I was interested in learning directly from World Business Leaders how businesses and big corporations are addressing the challenges of integrating the 17 Sustainable Development Goals into their business models and strategies; and how they are turning these Goals into sustainable business opportunities.

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

In-depth understanding of how a global “good” corporate governance system is uniquely positioned to lead the world in fulfilling the promise of the 2030 Agenda of transformational change and leaving no one behind!

Would you recommend it to others and why?

I would definitely recommend this program specifically to professionals in the international development field, in order to learn and access the wealth of knowledge and insights this program offers.

I highly recommend the CB Program for the opportunity to engage directly with corporate leaders and gain insights on how sustainable business models and competent corporate boards can lead a global transformational agenda to address climate change risks and achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Geoffrey Pegg
Geoffrey Pegg, GCB.D

Director of Sustainability & Environment, TELUS

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

I wanted to enhance my knowledge and education with respect to the ESG issues Boards face and to learn from leading experts and practitioners as assembled by Helle Bank Jorgensen leveraging her experience and network.

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

So Much! Since completing the course, I have been looking at these risks with a different lens and have taken action to bring some thoughts forward to our Board. I am able to reflect on case studies and interviews with experts – where I was able to ask them questions directly – as well as the many other resources shared during the certificate program. I believe my governance expertise has improved and am able to use that to improve the resiliency of my organization.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

Absolutely. In fact, my company has supported a subsequent cohort with a scholarship for a student who can benefit from the CB certificate program who may otherwise not have been able to attend. This is a quality program, covering a vast array of ESG issues Boards face, supported by a great repertoire of resources and subject matter experts.

Andrea Wood
Andrea Wood

Chief Legal & Governance Officer, TELUS

Why did you join the Competent Boards Certificate Program?

TELUS is deeply committed to being the world leader in social capitalism. It has received global recognition of its leadership in corporate citizenship and philanthropy, environmental, and business innovation.

a. TELUS is the only telecommunications company in the world named to The Wall Street Journal’s Top 100 Most Sustainably Managed Companies, ranking 29th overall and 15th in Social Capital.

b. TELUS has been ranked on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index for the fifth consecutive year and on the North American Index for the 20th year in a row, ranking at the 90th percentile in the telecommunications industry for its leadership in sustainability.

c. The TELUS team has contributed $1.3 billion in value, time, and financial support to Canadian charities and grassroots organizations since 2000 including $736 million in cash and 1.4 million days of volunteerism. This combined with TELUS’ own very generous contributions makes TELUS one of the most giving companies in the world.

d. TELUS committed more than $150 million in 2020 to provide front line support to Canadians during the COVID pandemic.

e. In addition, TELUS’ robust governance practices have resulted in TELUS being recognized as one of Canada’s leading organizations by the Globe and Mail’s Board Games. In 2020, TELUS enjoyed a score of 92/100 and it ranked 16th nationally.

Still, we intend to continuously improve and evolve how we leverage our commitment to social capitalism to deliver extraordinary results for our stakeholders.

As Chief Legal and Governance Officer of TELUS, I felt it was important to ensure that I was fully up to date on the topics covered by the Competent Boards program. I wanted to have greater visibility into what other companies were doing and why, and I wanted to start to understand how I could use my platform to help TELUS to continue to achieve its goals while inspiring others to try to match us!

What did you get out of the Competent Boards Certificate program?

The Competent Boards program enhanced my knowledge and gave me the vocabulary and confidence I need to be an effective advocate for social capitalism both within TELUS and externally. In addition, it enabled me to identify steps TELUS could take to continue evolving and improving our programs, including those relating to governance and disclosure. Finally, it provided me with a strong foundational understanding on which I intend to build, helping me remain current as the world inevitably changes and expectations of corporate behavior evolve.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

I highly recommend the program to anyone leading organizations in the not-for-profit sector. In addition, I recommend it to leaders in the for-profit world, provided they are open to the idea that corporations should be committed to delivering sustainable results for the benefit of all stakeholders (including the environment) and that the corporations that take this approach will win in the long term.

Be at the forefront of ESG, sustainability & climate risks and opportunities.