Boards face an increasing number of challenges in helping companies navigate a myriad of complex issues. They are in need of current thought leaders who can provide meaningful input in the boardroom. The composition of skill sets needed for boards is changing, and boards are recognizing the need to "refresh." Board candidates need to be prepared to explain their value proposition for a potential board seat.
We gained guidance on the following important questions:
What skills are most needed in the boardroom?
How do I project my skill sets on paper or in person?
How do I find out about potential board seats?
What educational programs, or other events, should I attend to better prepare myself for a board seat?
This program discussed the challenges facing boards, the skills required in today’s boardrooms, and the best way for board candidates to present themselves during the interview process. Attending this program will help you better understand the complexities of the boardroom and learn ways to project yourself as a future board leader.
Michael M. Vekich, St. Louis Park, is CEO of Vekich Chartered in Minneapolis, and is the Chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority appointed by Governor Mark Dayton. He is a member of BNCCORP’s Holding and Bank Board of Directors. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in accounting, business administration, and economics from the University of Minnesota.
Widely known as the go-to-guy, Vekich is an experienced senior executive known for innovative and effective leadership of complex organizations. Previously, he was the chairman of HF Financial Corp (NASDAQ: HFFC) and Home Federal Bank; executive chairman, president, and chief operating officer of Skyline Exhibits in Eagan; CEO of Vekich Arkema and Company; president of The Bank Holding Company; and chair of the Minnesota Board of Accountancy, where he currently serves as the secretary/treasurer.
Vekich has also served as the vice chair of Minnesota Ballpark Authority; as a member of the Rochester Higher Education Development Committee; and as a founding member and vice chair of the Minnesota Higher Education Services Council.
Vekich was a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees from 1996 to 2002, and he served as chair for four years. Gov. Tim Pawlenty appointed Vekich to the Board of Trustees in 2010 for a six-year term. Gov. Mark Dayton reappointed him to the Board of Trustees in 2016 for a six-year term ending June 30, 2022. He also continues to serve as President of the NACD Minnesota Chapter.
Dr. Barbara Butts Williams of Minneapolis is an extraordinary business, academic and community leader. She began her career over 45 years ago in business education and leadership development, rising quickly to leadership roles in strategy, human resources, marketing, sales, consulting, education and professional services. Currently, she serves as Executive Dean, External Relations and Partnerships & Dean Emerita, School of Business at Capella University with a focus on social responsibility and community impact.
Barbara is a strong advocate for education, health and economic vitality. She currently serves on the boards of Allina Health Systems, Metropolitan Economic Development Association (Meda), and Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA). Additionally, she serves as an advisor to several other Twin Cities organizations. Barbara is a NACD Board Leadership Fellow.
Barbara has received numerous community, business and professional awards and recognitions throughout her career; including Minneapolis St Paul Business Journal’s 2016, Career Achievement Award, 2017 AARP Pollen 50 over 50 Top Ten Inspiring Business Leaders, and 2018 recognized by a Twin Cities community based organization with a Woman of Excellence Award.
Stephen Newton is the area manager for Russell Reynolds Associates' Houston and Dallas offices and is also a member of the CEO/Board Practice. He has successfully completed searches for managing directors, presidents, CEOs, COOs, and board members for prestigious organizations.
Newton joined the Russell Reynolds Associates' New York office in 1986, transferred to Paris in 1991, and after that, moved to the Houston office in 1995. Until 2012, he co-led the Financial Services Sector in the Americas. Prior to joining the firm, Newton was with Bankers Trust Company in London, New York, and Paris. He served as vice president and unit head in the Energy Group and was responsible for the bank's relationships with energy companies in Continental Europe and Africa.
Newton serves on the board of the NACD Texas TriCities Chapter and the French-American Chamber of Commerce. He is also a board member of the Health Museum and Central Houston Inc. He is a past board member of the Houston Zoo and Oilfields School.
Newton received his BS in International Economics from the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University. He is fluent in French and English.