2023 Board Professionals Conference: Schedule

March 31–April 2, 2023
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
San Diego, CA


To print this schedule, select “File” and “Print.” If you are having trouble, please try printing to a PDF. For assistance, please contact membership@AGB.org.

Friday, March 31

12:00 – 6:00 PM PT | Registration and Help Desk Open

12:00 – 6:00 PM PT | AGB Experience

AGB’s mission is to help boards govern with knowledge and confidence. Visit the AGB Experience to learn about all that is available to you by virtue of membership. Get to know the AGB staff members responsible for the publications, consulting services, online tools, and other member services you rely on, and find out what’s new and what’s coming next. Meet our corporate partners and sponsors to explore the solutions-focused resources they offer.

4:00 – 5:30 PM PT | New Attendee Welcome and Speed Networking

Participate in quick, small group discussions with new and seasoned conference attendees alike for an opportunity to forge peer connections, share ideas and resources, and discuss best practices. This activity is open to all and is especially recommended for first-time attendees. Bring your best tips and greatest challenges.

5:30 – 6:30 PM PT – | Opening Remarks and Welcome Reception

Join AGB leaders and your colleagues on the AGB Board Professionals Leadership Group to kick off the first in-person Board Professionals Conference since 2019 in celebratory style.

7:00 – 8:30 PM PT – | Dinner Groups

Come join your colleagues for an evening of good food and stimulating conversation harbor side in beautiful San Diego. Choose from indoor and outdoor boardwalk or waterfront dining. All restaurants are near the conference hotel and a Board Professional host will guide the way. First-time attendees are encouraged to participate. Participants are responsible for their own meal expenses.

Saturday, April 1

6:00 – 7:00 AM PT | Optional Morning Activity

7:15 – 8:15 AM PT | Breakfast Available

7:00 AM – 6:00 PM PT | Registration and Help Desk Open

7:00 AM – 6:00 PM PT | AGB Experience

AGB’s mission is to help boards govern with knowledge and confidence. Visit the AGB Experience to learn about all that is available to you by virtue of membership. Get to know the AGB staff members responsible for the publications, consulting services, online tools, and other member services you rely on, and find out what’s new and what’s coming next. Meet our corporate partners and sponsors to explore the solutions-focused resources they offer.

8:15 – 9:15 AM PT | Plenary Session: Envisioning the Board Professional of the Future

The role of a board professional can take many forms and come with just as many formal titles. However, as the work of boards evolves, so too must the role of the board professional. This plenary session will explore board relations as a profession and how board professionals can best align themselves to support the increasingly complex governance needs in higher education.

Artis Hampshire-Cowan
, senior consultant and senior fellow, AGB Consulting

9:35 – 10:30 AM PT | Concurrent Sessions I

Board Meetings A-Z

Preparing for, executing, and wrapping up board meetings are critical areas of focus for all board professionals. In this interactive session, we will address some of these core areas. Participants will also help select the areas for exploration, ensuring they leave the session with practical, implementable ideas for keeping their board members appropriately engaged while enhancing their value to the board and institution. Topics will be relevant for individuals from public institutions, private institutions, and foundations. This session will challenge you to enhance the value you bring to your work every day.

Heather M. Fehn
, chief of staff and secretary to the board, The College of New Jersey
Lisa Cousino-Hoersten, executive assistant and board liaison, Foundation Administration, University of Toledo Foundation 

The Power of the Pen: Writing for the Board

Successful communications are one part information, one part public relations, and one part strategic messaging. A critical responsibility of the board professional is crafting communications for the board. This session will explore the various types of writing required, from meeting materials, minutes, and situation briefings to board statements, ceremonial resolutions, and scripts, and how to find the appropriate voice for each.

Lorrie Kyle
, PhD, executive director, Office of the President, Rollins College
Char Reed, vice president and university secretary, Kent State University 

Unlock the Power of Any Group through Effective Facilitation: An Active Approach

Board professionals are often called on for their ability to expertly plan meetings. Many times, these are board meetings that must conform to various standards of decorum. Other times, board professionals have the opportunity to shape the structure of a meeting to help unlock the powerful thinking of a group to promote innovation, creativity, and buy-in. Come learn about microstructures and small changes to meetings and group dynamics that will help you become the go-to person for helping groups unlock their power and potential. This session is interactive and will engage you in various activities so that everyone “learns by doing.”

Katie Herschede
, EdD, vice president for strategic initiatives and chief of staff, Widener University

The Importance of Continuous Improvement in University Governing Bodies: A Review Framework

The University of Sydney, Australia’s oldest and leading university, has embedded a governance review framework for the university’s Senate. The framework captures the elements of individual and whole-body reviews over a 10-year forecast to ensure the Senate effectively reviews its own performance in light of its functions and obligations. This interactive session will provide participants with a case study highlighting issues identified and steps put in place as a result of the reviews. It will also provide tools for other institutions to consider using to highlight areas for focus and improvement.

David Pacey
, chief governance officer, University of Sydney
Alyssa White, president, Association of Australian University Secretaries (AAUS)

Unpacking the Plenary for Independents

The context of independent higher education presents its own opportunities and challenges for board professionals looking to be strategic partners in fulfilling the mission of their institutions. Join colleagues from independent colleges and universities to talk more about board professionals’ roles and how they might evolve in the years ahead. Come with your experiences, insights, and questions as we dig deeper into the morning plenary. Bring along some business cards, too, since you’ll be connecting with these colleagues throughout our time together.

Sheila Severson
, executive assistant to the president and administrator for the board of trustees, Viterbo University
Kai Swanson, special assistant to the president, Augustana College 

Unpacking the Plenary for Publics and Foundations

Join your colleagues at this concurrent session to have an in-depth discussion about the plenary speaker’s presentation. Board professional colleagues from both public institutions and foundations will facilitate the session and help the group unpack important topics raised during the morning plenary. The session will also offer a great opportunity to network with your peers in an open environment.

10:50 – 11:50 AM PT | Professional Development Sessions: Ask the Expert

These mini master classes are designed to zero in on subjects across the spectrum of the board professional’s responsibilities. Each class begins with a capsule review of solutions from an experienced board professional colleague, followed by time to pose questions and explore strategies.

12:15 – 1:40 PM PT | Awards Luncheon, Keynote, and Discussion: Envisioning Boards of the Future

It is easy to feel as though the sky is falling in higher education. Big picture, what are the real challenges facing our sector in the coming years? What does that mean for the role boards must play going forward, and what will that require of board professionals and presidents? Join this session for insights sparked by a keynote speaker with over three decades of experience in the presidency, across five diverse institutions (two of them twice).

Keynote Speaker:
E. Gordon Gee
, president, West Virginia University; former president, The Ohio State University, Brown University, and the University of Colorado System; former chancellor, Vanderbilt University

Felicia Finston
, JD, chair, University of New Mexico Foundation Board of Trustees

Merrill Schwartz, PhD
, senior vice president for content and program strategy, AGB 

2:00 – 2:55 PM PT | Concurrent Sessions II

Let's Flip It! Flipped Board Orientation

A well-planned onboarding process provides new board members with a solid foundation that can help them understand and make the effort to achieve expectations of trusteeship. Establishing meaningful and personal relationships with new trustees can be challenging in our hybrid environments. This session will provide examples and tips on creating a memorable flipped orientation experience to develop a positive path for trustees’ engagement that will be beneficial to their personal and professional development while encouraging them to become high-functioning contributors to the board and institution.

Standing in the Gap: Diplomacy, Discretion, and Duty

Our roles as board professionals are complicated as we navigate through our duties to college and university presidents, boards, and campus leadership. Few positions require such skilled “diplomacy, discretion, and duty” as we address day-to-day operations and implementation of policies and procedures for our institutions. Join us as we discuss how interacting with those who make our institutions tick, imbued with sensitivity, ensures they feel they belong and effectively benefit our role—all while balancing friendships and relationships, the need for discretion, and the legal obligations that characterize what we do.

A Refresher on Robert’s Rules of Order: What Every BP Needs to Know

During this session, participants will review the basics and get answers to all the questions they were afraid to ask. Although board professionals do not serve as parliamentarians, they are expected to know and understand basic rules, motions, and procedures, which in turn helps boards run orderly and efficient meetings. This session will be interactive, encouraging discussions and questions from participants.

Crisis Management and the Board: Managing Risk

Are you ready for the next crisis? We don’t get to choose when a crisis will come to our campuses. But the choices we make now will have a major impact on how well our institutions and their leadership weather the storm, whenever and however it might break. Join professional crisis management consultants and seasoned board professionals for an interactive conversation on crisis management. You’ll come away with ideas on how to prepare your board, your colleagues, and most importantly yourself to respond to crises and safely navigate the rocky shoals of reputational risk.

Measuring Performance and Engagement: Utilizing Self Assessments, Engagement Plans, and Structured Reporting to Keep Your Board Invested

Information sharing is the key to enabling your board members to perform their fiduciary duty effectively and serve as ambassadors for your institution. In this session, we will explore tools and strategies for keeping your board members informed and engaged while also tracking their engagement and participation. Whether you’re a team of one embracing the power of Excel or have an in-house business intelligence team, this session will provide you with useful takeaways.

Lauren Ferguson
, assistant vice president, board relations, University of Central Florida
Elizabeth Kassebaum, executive secretary to the board of trustees and vice president for college projects, College of Charleston
Lauren Norris, director of advocacy and engagement, University of Maryland Alumni Association
Becky Fullmer, assistant vice president for advancement services, University of Central Florida Foundation

3:15 – 4:10 PM PT | Professional Development Sessions: Affinity Sessions

Bringing board professionals together from across the country provides a wonderful opportunity to connect with colleagues in similar roles. Additionally, a great deal of role diversity exists within this community, complete with unique opportunities, challenges, and experiences, based in part on the types of institutions BPs serve and idiosyncrasies of their job descriptions. Please join attendees for small-group discussions to dive deeper into the distinctive aspects of this work by affinity group and build a network of colleagues with similar experiences to engage for years to come. 

4:30 – 5:30 PM PT | Ideas Exchange

Join your peers, event speakers, AGB staff, and AGB partners for an informal exchange of ideas on a list of curated topics. Share creative solutions and pain points, and brainstorm with other board professionals. Use the time to follow up with a concurrent session speaker, delve deeper into a topic with a peer, and talk about the latest challenges. Feel free to stay with one presenter for the full duration or to move about as conversations shift and flow. Refreshments will be served.

Board Portals

Are you thinking about going paperless? Do you need help choosing a board portal? Or have you already made the conversion and want to talk about how to get the most out of your portal? Come talk all things board portal with experienced hands.

BP Community—The Network to Connect with Your Peers

Expand your board professionals (BPs) network. Have you ever felt alone and needed a life preserver in support of your board responsibilities? Learn how to connect with your fellow BPs to discuss challenges and ideas, share experiences and best practices, and, best of all, build relationships and form a network of peers around the world. Join us at the Ideas Exchange Forum to learn more about the BP community online network.

Etiquette with the Board

Learn tips and best practices for productively assisting your board and appropriately communicating inside and outside of the boardroom.

Strategic Use of Board Social Time

Engaged boards are more likely to be productive and effective. Well-organized meetings with relevant and engaging content are one powerful strategy. Another equally powerful strategy is to engage board members in multiple activities that deepen connections with the institution and its community, and among board members. This Ideas Exchange will focus on leveraging social time with board members to grow relationships and strengthen connections. Come learn what others are doing and share your tips.

What Is in Your ``Go Bag``?

Do you have a Mary Poppins bag from which you miraculously pull things when needed? Are you looking to fill your board “go bag” with items you “never thought of” or “are good to have”? If so, visit with two experienced board professionals and get tips and tricks to be prepared for the unexpected.

My Favorite Tool I Didn't Know I Needed

Imagine being able to control or automate your computer, the apps and websites you use, and your most common activities right from the push of a button. Whether you want to speed up repetitive tasks, get reminders, or just have a bit of fun, the Elgato Stream Deck makes a great productivity tool.

Creating an Effective Authority Grid

In this session, you will learn how to pull complex documents including bylaws, resolutions, and internal practices into a single matrix outlining the decision-making process for matters requiring committee and board approval. A completed matrix is a useful tool in providing transparency about the officers within your organization who are consulted and can also serve as a roadmap for committee recommendations prior to approval by your full board.

Trustees Society/Emeritus Engagement

Join us as we explore ideas to include former board members who want to remain engaged with the institution and ways to honor them for their extraordinary service.

6:30 – 8:30 PM PT | Optional Evening Networking

Optional evening activities are a long-standing tradition for the Board Professionals Conference. To provide more variety and cost-effective options in 2023, below are local locations and venues where we can gather with colleagues and enjoy what San Diego has to offer. All of these are within walking distance from the hotel. The location at the Manchester Grand Hyatt where we will gather will be announced at the meeting. Watch this space for updates!

The Shout House


Laugh, sing, and shout the night away at San Diego’s BEST Live Music Venue. The Shout House’s dueling piano show consists of two piano players performing at face-to-face grand pianos. The performances are high energy, with audience participation, comedy, sing-along, and staff dancing on stage.

Seaport Village


This 14-acre waterfront shopping, dining, and entertainment complex recreates a harborside setting of a century ago. The village includes 54 one-of-a-kind shops, 13 casual dining eateries, and four fine-dining waterfront restaurants. Located in close proximity to all local hotels, the complex is open 10:00 AM–10:00 PM.

Gaslamp Quarter


In the historic Gaslamp Quarter, where modern architecture and Victorian Age buildings stand side by side, you’ll discover eclectic galleries, chic boutiques, trendy nightclubs, rooftop bars, gastropubs, and craft beer haunts, along with fine dining restaurants lining the streets.

Sunday, April 2

7:00 – 8:00 AM PT | Optional Morning Activity

7:00 AM – 6:00 PM PT | Registration and Help Desk Open

7:00 AM – 6:00 PM PT | AGB Experience

8:00 – 8:45 AM PT | Breakfast Available

8:45 – 9:25 AM PT | Professional Development Sessions: Exchanging Key Insights

Join peers to discuss learning and share ideas about how you can turn conference insights into action back home. Hear what you missed in another session, discover meaning others are finding, and make cross-cutting connections. This time is structured to help you put the pieces together.

9:45 – 10:40 AM PT | Concurrent Sessions III

New Age of Board Meetings

According to “The Effective Hybrid Board,” written by Thomas K. Hyatt for Trusteeship magazine, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way classes are taught and meetings are conducted. Join us to learn how we are adapting to and leading the way in the new age of board meetings. Presenters will share experiences and strategies around hosting hybrid meetings by exploring what works, what doesn’t, and the critical role technology can play in ensuring board operations are effective and efficient.


Recruiting the Right Board Members and Onboarding

This session will explore ways the board professional can guide the nominating committee/committee on trusteeship to strategically recruit new board members and develop a pipeline of future strong board member candidates. Once they’ve joined the board, nothing is more important than engagement in the first year. We’ll share onboarding and orientation ideas focused on meaningful conversations that educate your new board members regarding the crucial issues facing your institution and higher education today. Come share your best tips!

Shared Governance: But How Does It REALLY Work?

With a new shared governance publication from AGB soon to be required reading by board professionals across the higher education landscape, it might be good to check in on the institution that served as a laboratory for AGB’s Shared Governance in Times of Change. That book, first published in 2014, was written by Steven Bahls when he was president at Augustana College. In this session, you’ll join a former faculty governance chair and a current board professional/presidential assistant for a candid discussion of the hits and misses of the “alignment model” for shared governance.

Greg Domski, PhD
, associate dean of academic strategic priorities, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and former chair of the Faculty Council, Augustana College
Kai Swanson, special assistant to the president, Augustana College

Back by Popular Demand

More information coming soon.

Growing Your Role

More information coming soon.

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM PT | Board Professionals on the Hotseat

Back by popular demand, this grand finale to the conference will feature bold questions, gritty insights, and inspired wisdom from a panel of this profession’s elder statespeople. Do not miss this opportunity to get to the heart of the matter with a set of your national peers.

Aristide J. Collins Jr.
, vice president, chief of staff to the president, secretary of the university, George Washington University

Register as a group and save.

Reserve your spot now. Early bird pricing ends December 1, 2022.

Early Bird Price


Regular Price


Nonmember Price


Dual Registration
National Conference on Trusteeship and Board Professionals Conference*


Special Offer for Foundation Board Professionals

Foundation board professionals who register for the 2023 Foundation Leadership Forum will receive a discount code enabling them to register for the 2023 Board Professionals Conference at 50% off the early bird rate, a savings of $275. To take advantage of this bundle rate, members should register for the Foundation Leadership Forum first; or contact the AGB Registrar for assistance.

*Member exclusive pricing.

Key Dates

  • Early bird deadline: December 1, 2022
  • Deadline for cancellation: February 28, 2023
  • Deadline to receive discounted hotel rate: March 9, 2023

Cancellation Policy

All cancellations and requests for refunds must be submitted in writing to cancellations@AGB.org and will be processed after the meeting. Requests for refunds must be received by close of business on February 28, 2023, to receive a full refund minus a $25 cancellation fee. No refunds will be issued for registrants who cancel after February 28, 2023. If you are unable to attend, a substitute is welcome in your place at no additional charge. AGB is not responsible for cancellations due to airline disruption, inclement weather, COVID-19, or schedule changes.

Group Discounts: If a cancellation causes the group to fall below the required three registrations, the refund will be issued minus the discount benefit received by the original group.

Hotel Information

AGB has secured a room block at the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego for Board Professionals Conference attendees at a group rate of $309 per night (exclusive of 12.5% taxes). A link is included in the registration confirmation to allow registered attendees to book their hotel reservation.

COVID-19 Guidelines

AGB encourages all conference attendees to review and follow CDC recommendations for individuals participating in large gatherings. AGB will comply with current federal, state, and local regulations regarding COVID-19 safety protocols and applicable policies of the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego. We will contact conference participants prior to the event with information on the most current recommendations and requirements.

With thanks to our 2023 sponsors.

View our 2023 sponsors and see how you can support the Board Professionals Conference.

Contact us.


AGB is committed to excellence in member service. Should you have questions about registering for the Board Professionals Conference, contact the AGB registrar.

Become a Member and Save

If you currently are not an AGB member but want to take advantage of member pricing, contact Matt Stevens, director of membership outreach.


To learn about sponsorship opportunities, contact Steve Abbott, director of partnerships.

All other inquiries may be directed to the AGB concierge.