Getting good at governance is a process, especially in a family business. Sometimes that process takes time, thought, and a slow, intentional transition. In other situations, change is thrust upon the business and good governance follows a time of crisis or business evolution.
Liz Watson and John Jennings of WATSON Advisors
share stories that capture each of these shifts – a case of slow, deliberate governance change to respond to business evolution and a case of a board stepping up in a time of crisis. Each story, emblematic of family business governance, speaks to a different path to good governance and shares real-life lessons to bring back to the boardroom.
Elizabeth Watson, QC (Liz), is the founder and leader of WATSON, whose raison d’être is to strengthen Canadian organizations by building highly effective boards and executive teams. Liz has practiced law for more than 35 years and has spent over half her career advising boards, chairs, directors, committees and CEOs.
Liz works closely with the corporate governance community in Canada and is a sought after advisor, speaker and contributor on governance, CEO and board recruitment issues and the importance of diversity on boards. She teaches at the ICD’s Directors Education Program on Governance Effectiveness and recently authored CPA Canada’s publication on Building and Sustaining an Effective Board.
Liz has been named as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women and as one of the inaugural Top 100 Influential Women of British Columbia.
John Jennings co-leads WATSON’s director and executive search practice, providing clients with tailored approaches and solutions to meet their particular need. John is adept at teasing out the unique attributes of each search assignment while working closely with stakeholders and the WATSON recruitment team to identify the ideal candidate. An overt people person, John integrates his formal experience with a passion to serve clients and candidates on an individual basis, respectfully and effectively.
John brings that uncommon trifecta of experience to WATSON’s clients – senior executive, board member and search executive. Having been a CEO, COO, and interim CFO, he is intimately aware of the key issues facing management teams as they execute their strategic plan. Equally comfortable in the boardroom of public companies and not-for- profit organizations, John offers 30+ years experience as Board Chair and Committee Chair, including CEO Selection, Audit & Finance, and Human Resources & Compensation.