2024 Board Professionals Conference: Schedule

March 24–26, 2024
Hilton Boston Park Plaza
Boston, MA


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Sunday, March 24

9:45 – 11:45 AM ET | Boston University Campus Tour

Join us for a tour of Boston University’s Charles River campus, led by Boston University board staff. Participants will enjoy a tour of select campus facilities, plus a planned conversation with host Erika Geetter, Boston University senior vice president, general counsel, and secretary to the board of trustees. Transportation will be provided; maximum capacity is 50 participants.

*This tour is fully booked! Registrants will receive further details via email.

11:00 AM – 6:00 PM ET | Registration Open

11:00 AM – 7:00 PM ET | AGB Experience Open

12:30 – 1:15 PM ET | New Attendee Welcome

Join us in kicking off the Board Professionals Conference as we get to know our fellow attendees and learn a bit about one another. During the New Attendee Welcome, you will have a chance to meet your fellow board professionals and gather in small groups to ask seasoned attendees questions about the conference. Ideally, you will develop a plan to depart Boston with an arsenal of information that will directly enhance your work as a board professional.

1:15 – 1:30 PM ET | Travel Break

1:30 – 2:30 PM ET | Concurrent Session Block 1

Developing an Inclusive Board Culture

A key characteristic of a high-performing board is its ability to engage in difficult conversations regarding the myriad challenges facing institutions today. The board professional is in a position to develop and nurture the kind of culture needed for board members to be well informed, to ask generative and meaningful questions, and to be actively engaged. In this interactive session, participants will engage in activities to bring back to their campuses, will discuss how to create an inclusive culture, and will consider collectively how to manage boards with diversity on numerous dimensions.

Hanna Rodriguez-Farrar
, vice president for strategic initiatives and secretary to the board of trustees, Colgate University

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.

Jason Langworthy
, associate secretary, University of Minnesota Board of Regents

The Art of Gathering: A Book Discussion

Board professionals are always looking to “level up” meetings and board experiences to build stronger connections and organizational affinity, increase productivity, clarify goals, and build support. We must be intentional and thoughtful in all that we do to best leverage our board’s time and talent.

This discussion will examine learnings and best practices from The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters by Priya Parker. Join us as a university president and a board professional talk about how they are using the book for more intentional meetings and how you can use some of the same tools and ideas. Haven’t read the book? No problem. The session will be informative for those who have read the book and those who haven’t.

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

Terrifying & Exciting: The use of AI in the Boardroom

In this session, we will discuss how board professionals and trustees will be affected by artificial intelligence (AI) and how you can use it now to positively impact your board work. This will be a practical discussion on how AI can, and will, affect modern day governance. We will cover everything from streamlining day-to-day board operations to impacting trustee decision-making.

Matt Maxwell
, senior consultant, AGB OnBoard

Heather M. Fehn
, vice president, chief of staff, and secretary to the board of trustees, The College of New Jersey
Oscar Thomas, principal product manager, AGB OnBoard

2:30 – 2:45 PM ET | Travel Break

2:45 – 3:45 PM ET | Professional Development Sessions – 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. Small groups will include:

  • Private Institutions
  • Public Institutions
  • Institutionally Related Foundations
  • HBCUs

3:45 – 4:00 PM ET | Travel Break

4:00 – 5:15 PM ET | Welcome and Plenary: Board Professionals on the Hot Seat

The Board Professionals Conference is all about sharing ideas and gaining inspiration, so it makes sense to start with some of the best in the field. Bring your burning questions, and be ready to join us for a candid conversation with four seasoned leaders as we set the stage for a conference designed to develop your expertise, raise your game, and equip you to “meet the moment.”

Kai Swanson, special assistant to the president, Augustana College

Lauren Ferguson, assistant vice president of board relations, University of Central Florida
Tamara Stoner, university secretary, AVP of auxiliary services, Delaware State University
Jonathan Post, vice president for board relations, secretary of the university, George Washington University
Sally Churchill, vice president and secretary of the university, University of Michigan

5:30 – 7:00 PM ET | Reception & 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.

Tracking Reports

At each meeting, board members raise questions or request information that may not be readily available. How do you manage and track these requests to ensure institutional responsiveness?

Julie Miller
, vice president and secretary to the board of governors, Wayne State University

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.

Matthew Paskin
, executive assistant to the president and board coordinator, University of Alaska Foundation

Board Communication Tools and Strategies

Setting clear communication expectations plays a pivotal role in the success of any good governance board. Learn more about communication strategies and best practices, as well as communication tools, such as information-based cover sheets, productive agenda planning calls, and small-group pre-meeting calls that are sure to make every board professional’s life much easier.

Megan Ayers
, special assistant to the chief of staff and assistant secretary to the board of trustees, East Carolina University

Transition Checklist 101

Whether you are working with a new president/chancellor or a newly named board chair, your skills will be put to the test in guiding the transition of this new leader. Come learn about strategies to build effective working relationships and facilitate the integration of these key people into your college or university.

Heather M. Fehn
, vice president, chief of staff, and secretary to the board of trustees, The College of New Jersey

Public Input in a Digital World

Learn about a new approach to public comment periods, understand how you can use technology to expand access to public comment, hear about lessons learned within a University of Minnesota System pilot project, and explore the role of the board professional in facilitating public comment.

Krista Overby
, communications and engagement manager, board of regents, University of Minnesota System
Marlo Welshons, assistant executive director, board of regents, University of Minnesota System

Emeritus Regent/Trustee Engagement

Learn and share ideas on ways you can keep former board members involved at your college or university. We will touch upon the idea of creating an Emeritus Program for individuals after they leave the board.

Vicki Reaume
, vice president and secretary to the board of regents, Eastern Michigan University

Building Board Relationships

Learn tips and tricks for building stronger relationships with your chair and board.

Melissa Orth
, associate secretary, director of presidential athletics, University of Florida

New Trustee Orientation

Join us as we share ideas on how to have successful, informative, and engaging new trustee orientations.

Tamara Stoner
, university secretary, assistant vice president of auxiliary services, Delaware State University

OnBoard Portal

This presentation will explain the OnBoard portal, how the City University of New York uses it, and the portal’s added value.

Anne Fenton
, deputy secretary, City University of New York

New Trustee Mentorship Programs

Good trustee onboarding is as relational as it is educational. Gain clarity on goals, strategies, and techniques for mentorships to help your board “meet the moment.”

Andy Lounder
, associate vice president for Programs, AGB

Mental Health: Ourselves, Our Presidents, Our Colleagues

We, as board professionals, are caregivers. How are we doing? Join our open discussion on the care we receive, the care we give, and our role in maintaining balance for ourselves and our teams.

Sheyonn Baker
, executive assistant to the president; secretary, board of trustees, Hollins University

Monday, March 25

7:00 – 8:00 AM ET | Optional Morning Activity: Yoga

Kristin Coffey
, program manager, board operations, University of Maryland College Park Foundation

7:00 – 8:00 AM ET | Optional Morning Activity: Walking

Kai Swanson
, special assistant to the president, Augustana College

8:00 AM – 5:30 PM ET | Registration Open

8:00 AM – 5:30 PM ET | AGB Experience Open

8:00 – 9:00 AM ET | Breakfast Available

9:00 – 10:15 AM ET | Breakfast Plenary: Managing Change and the Costs and Benefits of Transitions

Change has become synonymous with higher education. The impacts of global pandemics, economic downturns, natural disasters, and demographic cliffs related to declines in traditional college-age students take their toll on our campuses, our students, and our boards. Compounding these impacts is the rapidly declining tenure of institutional leadership. Consequently, boards must strategically prepare for transitions every day. This panel of seasoned board professionals, a trustee and a president who have “seen it all,” will discuss how institutions can best prepare for change and how board professionals can provide the support to ensure long-term success.

Merrill P. Schwartz, senior fellow and senior consultant, AGB

Michael A. Bernstein, interim president, The College of New Jersey
Heather M. Fehn, vice president, chief of staff, and secretary to the board of trustees, The College of New Jersey
Steve W. Frieder, senior advisor to the president and corporate secretary, Marquette University
Eleanor V. Horne, vice chair, board of directors, AGB; trustee, The College of New Jersey

10:15 – 10:30 AM ET | Travel Break

10:30 – 11:30 AM ET | Concurrent Session Block 2

Grow Your Role

Whether you have been in your position for 6 months, 6 years, or 16 years, it is never too early or too late to pay attention to your own growth and development as a professional. Come hear from two seasoned professionals who have grown their own roles throughout their careers to ensure they continue to learn and enhance their skills while increasing the value they provide to the institutions they serve.

Heather M. Fehn
, vice president, chief of staff, and secretary to the board of trustees, The College of New Jersey

The Power of the Pen: Effective Communications and the Board

A critical responsibility of the board professional is crafting communications to and from the board. This session will explore various types of writing required, including board statements, meeting minutes, briefings, and reports, with special focus on strategic messaging and identifying the appropriate voice for the audience.

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

Beyond Binders: The Vital Groundwork of Volunteer Orientation

This session will explore how orientation for new board members is one of the most important processes for board professionals to oversee. It lays the groundwork for the volunteer’s experience, and can be the first crucial step in ensuring meaningful board engagement. The presenters will discuss the importance of developing a creative orientation program that utilizes all aspects of the institution and will explore the means to evaluate the orientation program to continually ensure improvement. The session will allow time for brainstorming “outside the box” orientation sessions.

Carrie Letourneau
, associate director, foundation operations, William & Mary Foundation
Julie Leach, executive director, William & Mary Foundation

A Culture of Hearing: Hearing all Board Voices by Building Psychological Safety

Psychological safety has been well-documented as foundational to innovation, knowledge-seeking, teamwork, and more. Often, this is considered an organization-wide issue, but recent research shows that individual team members can take actions to positively impact the long-term safety of their team, as well as work quality, team dynamics, change adoption, and more. With many of us unwilling to share ideas or raise issues, isn’t it time we equip our board members with the skills to foster open and productive dialogue? In this session, we will review the scientifically validated data on the impacts of psychological safety. From there, we will introduce the concept of workplace courage, sharing data on how it influences future behavior, creates a foundation of trust, and fosters high performance. We will also review academic research that identifies the quantitatively measured tactics of workplace courage that have the most impact. Participants will assess their own courage and create an action plan for the future.

Allessandria Polizzi
, CEO and founder, Verdant Consulting

Evolutions in Executive Search in Higher Education

Today’s executive search services have been reshaped by a wide array of challenges requiring astute and visionary leadership—with board confidence. A review of fundamental strategies and major components of executive search processes now reveals a number of areas that have evolved in executive searches, even within the past few years, and a wide variety of opportunities for customization. Come to this session to learn about the new leading practices for executive search and how you can help your board position your institution for success in attracting and retaining top senior leadership. Time will be allotted for questions and discussion.

Kim Bobby
, principal, AGB Search; former chief of staff, Prince George’s Community College
Rod McDavis, managing principal, AGB Search; president emeritus, Ohio University
Melissa Trotta, associate managing principal, AGB Search

Facilitated Board Assessments

Regular board assessments are fundamental to high-performing, strategic boards. Join this session to hear why your board of trustees may benefit from a facilitated board assessment and how you would go about arranging it. Review how both a university and a foundation board, using AGB Consulting, developed an event that provided deep insights into their board’s performance, impact, and areas for growth. Learn, step by step, how to develop an Assessment Day agenda and schedule, as well as prepare for an in-depth exercise with your board. We will review how to plan the day, breakout groups, and materials to get the most from your assessment exercise. The assessment activity uncovers strengths and opportunities for board development and brings your board together, working as a team.

Lisa Cousino-Hoersten
, executive assistant to the president and board liaison, University of Toledo Foundation
Anne Fenton, deputy secretary, City University of New York

11:30 – 11:45 AM ET | Travel Break

11:45 AM – 12:45 PM ET | Professional Development Sessions: Mini Master Classes

These mini master classes are designed to zero in on subjects across the spectrum of the board professional’s responsibilities. Each 25 minute class, presented twice during this session, begins with a capsule review of solutions from an experienced board professional colleague, followed by time to pose questions and explore strategies.

Foundation Board Member Recruitment

Recruiting the best individuals to volunteer to serve as members of your foundation’s board is fundamental in fulfilling its fiduciary responsibilities and the foundation’s mission. This mini master class 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 strong board member candidates in the future. We’ll share ideas and practices about board member composition matrices, identifying current and future board membership gaps, recruitment and nomination processes, and pitfalls and reality checks. Be ready to share your best tips with your fellow board professionals.

Matthew Paskin
, executive assistant to the president and board coordinator, University of Alaska Foundation
Janelle Hom, director, foundation board relations, advancement and partnerships, University of Central Florida

Spiced Up Board Engagement

The session will focus on examples of boards that have found nontraditional and innovative engagement activities. Attendees will return to their institutions with unique ways to increase member camaraderie and explore their campuses in a fun and educational way. This session will complement what you learn in the “Tracking Board Member Engagement” mini master class, so plan to attend both to maximize your board engagement strategy.

Jessica Burns
, board administrator, executive to CEO, West Virginia University Foundation
Jessica Spruill, liaison to the ECU Foundation, East Carolina University Foundation

Tracking Board Member Engagement

Join us to learn more about developing, measuring, and reporting your board member’s individual engagement plans. This mini master class will cover how to create a plan that can be molded from start to finish to fit your institution’s expectations and goals for its board members. We hope you walk away with great ideas to develop your own plan for your board. This session will complement what you learn in the “Spiced Up Board Engagement” mini master class, so plan to attend both to maximize your board engagement strategy.

Nicole Reeves
, executive officer for trustee relations, University of New Mexico Foundation
Sheila Severson, executive assistant to the president, board administrator, Viterbo University

'Apply It!' - Using the BP Certificate in Everyday Life

This session will provide tips and tricks for board professionals (BPs) to take what they have learned in the Board Professional Certificate ProgramTM and apply it to their own institutions. It will also provide BPs with insight into how to have conversations with their presidents and/or board chairs using the lessons from the certificate.

*This mini master class is for BPs who have completed the BP Certificate or are in the process of completing the certificate.

Amelia Arnold
, special assistant to the president and assistant secretary, Saint Louis University

Standing in the Gap: Diplomacy, Discretion, and Duty 2.0

The roles of board professionals are complicated as they navigate through the performance of their duties to college and university presidents, boards, campus leadership, and their institutions’ broader communities. The roles have become even more challenging as board professionals increasingly face student mental health challenges, campus safety concerns, and leadership instability, as well as heightened scrutiny of higher education from all directions—students, faculty, donors, alumni, legislators, Congress, the news media/pundits, etc. Few positions require such skilled “diplomacy, discretion, and duty” as board professionals work with their institutional colleagues and campus constituencies to take on day-to-day operations, implementation of initiatives and policies, and collaboration with strategic partners—all while supporting consequential governance by boards and campus leaders.

Richard Uchida
, vice president, general counsel, and secretary, Colby College
Sheyonn Baker, executive assistant to the president; secretary, board of trustees, Hollins University

12:45 – 1:00 PM ET | Travel Break

1:00 – 2:30 PM ET | Luncheon Plenary: The Game-Changer BP: Thinking Three Moves Ahead

Over the past year, journalists have covered an array of examples of increased trustee engagement and advocacy. Trustees bring good intentions to the role; however, sometimes challenges arise. Board professionals (BPs) are essential in getting the best out of board members at a time when high performance is of heightened importance. Come to this inspirational keynote to think freshly about which levers are available to you, and ultimately what it means for BPs not merely to see all the pieces on the board but to move them.

Aristide J. Collins Jr.
, executive vice president, chief administrative officer, and chief of staff, Strada Education Foundation

2:30 – 2:45 PM ET | Travel Break

2:45 – 3:45 PM ET | Concurrent Session Block 3

Boards and Belonging: Understanding the Role of the Governing Board in Fostering Belonging for Students of Color

This presentation will explore findings from a case study that aims to understand the relationship between the governing board and sense of belonging for students of color within the context of a private nonprofit college and the dynamics at play as board members participate in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work.

Adriana Lopez Lobovits
, director of the president’s office, California College of the Arts

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
, vice president, chief of staff, and secretary to the board of trustees, The College of New Jersey
Diane Fornieri, deputy secretary to the board, Weill Cornell Medical School
Lisa Cousino-Hoersten, executive assistant to the president and board liaison, University of Toledo Foundation

Charting Your Path to Professional Growth

In our rapidly evolving professional landscape, personal and career growth are not just aspirations; they are necessities. Whether you are an early career professional, midway through your career, or a seasoned professional, it’s crucial to have a well-defined strategy to navigate the changing pursuit of professional development. This session will explore the development of a personalized plan for professional growth and the motivation and opportunities to take proactive steps toward achieving your career aspirations.

Denise Nelson Nash
, vice president and secretary of the board of trustees, Scripps College
Herminio L. Perez, assistant dean of student affairs, diversity and inclusion, Rutgers School of Dental Medicine

Three Keys to Win Board Buy-in on New Programs and Partnerships

Offering market-responsive academic programs such as cybersecurity and data analytics is necessary to remain competitive and grow enrollment. Unfortunately, many colleges are stuck with stale, aging catalogs because of the significant cost, time, and risk of launching new degrees.

This session will introduce an alternative, collaborative partnership model that more than 85 campuses are using to offer new academic programs. It will also share lessons and strategies for how all colleges can improve their board evaluation of new programs and new partnerships.

As the need for nimble, effective decision-making grows, institutions that have solid evaluation frameworks for new business models will be better equipped to thrive.

Charlie Anastasi
, vice president of partnerships, Rize Education

Breaking through the Noise: Effective Communication Strategies for Your Board

Communication is a critical component of the board professional role. Board professionals need to communicate not only with their board but also with university and board leadership. Identifying what messages need to be communicated—and when and to whom—is important to the work of a board professional. This session will focus on how to organize board communications into a communication plan and various types of communications while also utilizing the strengths of a board portal. By creating a comprehensive communication plan, board professionals can integrate and execute a consistent communications strategy with their board members and leadership. Presenters will explore many types of communications, including new trustee outreach and orientation, mentorship programs, annual compliance and training, trustee self-assessments, term reminders, board meeting details and registration, e-newsletters, board portal resource centers, and more. In addition, they will share communication plans and samples from Elizabethtown College and the University of Maryland College Park Foundation.

Takeaways include:

  • How to communicate effectively with an integrated, consistent communications strategy
  • What content to communicate in an e-newsletter update for trustees.
  • How to measure overall engagement and participation through data analytics and surveys
  • Why improved and enhanced communication will help strengthen your board and its governance practices
  • How to benefit from multiple types of communications, including new trustee outreach, annual compliance, trustee self-assessments, term reminders, board meeting details and registration, monthly digital newsletters, and more
  • How to utilize a board portal as a communication tool

Kristen Coffey
, program manager, board operations, University of Maryland College Park Foundation
Keri Straub, associate vice president for marketing, communications & external relations, and board liaison, Elizabethtown College

Launching a Continuing Education Series for Board Effectiveness

Well-informed boards are more likely to be engaged, future-focused, and effective in governing for the advancement of their institutions. How can we as board professionals partner with leadership to support the continuing education of all trustees, regardless of who is in their first or final term? In this session, we will discuss strategies for launching an education series that can boost individual board members’ confidence, close information gaps, and help the board fulfill its fiduciary duties.

Jennifer Krengel
, executive director to the board of regents, University of the Pacific

3:45 – 4:15 PM ET | Break & Networking

4:15 – 5:15 PM ET | Concurrent Session Block 4

Calm, Cool, and Collected: Complexities of Crisis Management

You planned and prepared for the meeting (or event) months in advance, troubleshooted technology, and waited until the final moment to hit print. Inevitably, however, something throws a wrench (or two) into your best-laid plans. The ability for board professionals to quickly pivot to address myriad situations before, during, and after the unexpected is a critical skill in this unique role. Crisis management can be complex, but sorting through the facts and continuing to move forward are not impossible. Learn techniques to maintain a high level of professionalism while addressing the demands of the board, executive leadership, and the public.

Key Takeaways:

  • Identify key strategies to effectively prioritize matters as they arise before, during, and after board meetings, events, and functions.
  • Understand the role of servant leadership in addressing unexpected scenarios in the day-to-day role of a board professional.
  • Establish yourself as a trustworthy leader.

Amber McDonnell
, director of board operations, University of Colorado
Amanda Gordon, board relations coordinator, University of Colorado

Enhancing Governance through Board Self-Assessments

In this session, we will delve into the significance and methodology behind board self-assessments. Participants will gain insights into the tools and best practices for developing, conducting, and utilizing the data resulting from board self-assessments. Whether you’re looking to implement a board self-assessment for the first time or refine your current process, this session will offer valuable takeaways for boards of all sizes and structures.

Jessica Burns
, board administrator, executive to the CEO, West Virginia University Foundation
Lauren Ferguson, assistant vice president of board relations, University of Central Florida

Six Best Practices in 60 Minutes

Board professionals are constantly learning new ideas and implementing them into their work. Join us to get actionable ideas and insights into six best practices that you can immediately implement when you get back to your institution. We will discuss five best practices: strategic topics, flipped meetings, public statements, board education, and building board social capital. You will bring the final topic! Through an active and iterative process, we will surface another best practice to discuss and will invite the group to share their best practices, ideas, and resources so that we can all learn from and strengthen each other. You will walk away with tangible resources and a network of colleagues poised to support you as you implement something new or improved at your institution.

Two seasoned board professionals who have experience at private and public universities will lead this session.

Denise Nelson Nash
, vice president and secretary of the board, Scripps College
Katie Herschede, vice president for strategic initiatives and chief of staff, Widener University

Restructuring Committees

Board professionals (BPs) are in a unique position to help facilitate the committee restructuring process because of their role in planning and executing the business of the board. In this session, we will explore the tools you will need to help your board rethink its committee structure—from why this process is important to analyzing whether your board is ready. We will also devolve into how to restructure, including what tools are available to BPs to help facilitate the process. Finally, we will review a case study from the City University of New York.

Gayle Horwitz
, senior advisor to the chancellor and secretary of the board, City University of New York

Beyond the Certificate - President/Chancellor Search and Transition

This session, designed for those who have completed the Board Professional Certificate ProgramTM, will focus on more nuanced, yet critical aspects of any search process. Hear from the Lesson 8 (Presidential/Chancellor Search and Transition) authors as they address topics including reframing the work of the board professional during the search, developing an effective relationship with the search consultant and candidates, working with the incumbent to facilitate the transition out and with the successful candidate to facilitate the transition in, and determining the board professional’s campus engagement during a search. Ample time will be left for your questions on the topics raised in the certificate program’s Lesson 8, as well as these new areas of focus.

Heather M. Fehn
, vice president, chief of staff, and secretary to the board of trustees, The College of New Jersey
Char Reed, vice president and university secretary, Kent State University

7:00 PM ET | Dinner Groups

Come join your colleagues for an evening of good food and stimulating conversation. 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.

Online RSVPs are now closed. However, sign up sheets for locations with available space will also be available at the BPLG table in the AGB Experience.

Click here to see the list of restaurants

Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse ($$$)
High-end Italian steakhouse with an extensive menu and wine list, plus a refined bar.

FiRE + iCE ($$)
All-you-can-eat round grill that allows you to enjoy a dish of your own creation. Think of it as “choose your own adventure dining.”

Legal Sea Foods ($$$)
Specializing in upmarket seafood, this contemporary chain also serves steaks and cocktails.

My Thai Vegan Café ($)
Meatless options abound at this informal second-story spot, also known for its range of bubble teas.

Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery ($$)
Upscale brewpub chain serving house beers and imaginative pub food in lively environs.

Solas Irish Pub ($$)
Relaxed, late-night hangout in the Lenox Hotel with sidewalk seating, serving Irish and American food with cocktails.

Online RSVPs are now closed. However, sign up sheets for locations with available space will also be available at the BPLG table in the AGB Experience.

Tuesday, March 26

6:00 – 7:00 AM ET | Optional Morning Activity: Walking

Kai Swanson
, special assistant to the president, Augustana College

7:00 AM – 5:30 PM ET | AGB Experience Open

7:00 – 8:00 AM ET | Breakfast Available

7:00 AM – 5:30 PM ET | Registration Open

8:00 – 9:00 AM ET | Breakfast Plenary: Harnessing the Power of AI

As we venture deeper into the 21st century, artificial intelligence (AI) has become a transformational force in higher education. James Spellos brings a unique perspective to this subject, having dedicated his career to teaching technology applications with a recent focus on AI’s transformative capabilities.

Participants will:

  • Identify 30+ AI tools that can support board professionals’ work
  • Engage interactively with Spellos to elucidate the impact of AI and other technologies on the future of higher education and board governance
  • Understand how current AI technology will continue to evolve

James Spellos, president, Meeting U.

9:00 – 9:15 AM ET | Travel Break

9:15 – 10:15 AM ET | Concurrent Session Block 5

Navigating Trusteeship: Practical Building Blocks for Effective Boards

Explore the building blocks for effective board management and learn some best practices for volunteer engagement. Join us in a conversation that will help you gain tools for streamlining communications, meeting management, and structure—ensuring your board is effective and well-managed.

Jennifer Hendrickson
, associate vice president for advancement, Georgia Gwinnett College; president, Georgia Gwinnett College Foundation
Laura Brown, assistant director of donor and board relations, Georgia Gwinnett College Foundation

Trending Topics and Insights for Foundation BPs

Take away actionable insights and expand your BP network as panelists discuss trending topics for foundation BPs.

Lisa Cousino-Hoersten
, executive assistant to the president and board liaison, University of Toledo Foundation
Matthew Paskin, executive assistant to the president and board coordinator, University of Alaska Foundation

Campus Active Aggressor—Preparing for the Unthinkable

Daily headlines remind us of the threat of violence and its impact on our community. In their most extreme form—an active shooter or mass casualty—these events are sudden, unexpected, and high-profile and can have a profound impact on students, parents, faculty, and staff and the trust they have in the safety of classrooms, residences, and workplaces. With each new incident, the concern on campuses grows, as does the pressure on leaders to take action to prevent violent acts and keep communities safer. Yet few schools have adequately prepared beyond conducting tactical training for police departments and adding ambiguous statements in their handbooks to address workplace violence.

In this session, we will share real-world experience and learnings as well as best practice guidance to help you:

  • Evaluate how ready your school is to respond should this type of event occur on your campus
  • Effectively prioritize and address readiness gaps
  • Understand your role in helping your school respond to and recover from an active aggressor

Simon Barker
, managing partner, Blue Moon Consulting Group
Karen Petrularkis, general counsel and board secretary, Wellesley College
Pam Roskowski, senior advisor, security management, Blue Moon Consulting Group

Beyond the Certificate - Legal Components of Work and the Board Professional

This session, designed for those who have completed the Board Professional Certificate ProgramTM, will explore key legal issues and responsibilities most relevant to the work and operations of the board. Two leading subject matter experts from Lesson 5 (Legal Components of the Work of the Board Professional) will help you continue to advance your knowledge and practice in topics such as fiduciary duties, confidentiality, privilege, personal liability, and working with counsel—when and how. Ample time will be left for your questions and discussion with fellow certificate completers.

Tom Hyatt
, general counsel and senior fellow, AGB
Mary Kennard, chief legal counsel, American University

Fiduciary Duty: Timeless Advice for Hard Decisions

The first job of higher education board members is to be fiduciaries of their institutions—to hold colleges, universities, or foundations in trust. This session will provide board professionals (BPs) a solid grounding in fiduciary duty, in law and in practice. Speakers will give special attention to the practicalities of tough decisions and how BPs might help frame key decisions for the board using a fiduciary lens.

Chris Moloney
, associate vice president and associate managing principal, AGB Consulting
Mark Heckler, president emeritus, Valparaiso University; trustee, Elizabethtown College

10:15 – 10:30 AM ET | Travel Break

10:30 – 11:00 AM ET | Professional Development Sessions: From Boston to Boardroom

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. Discussion groups will include:

  • Private Institutions
  • Public Institutions
  • Institutionally Related Foundations
  • HBCUs

11:00 – 11:15 AM ET | Travel Break

11:15 AM – 12:00 PM ET | Plenary – Make a Difference: Placing Your Work in Strategic Context

This closing plenary session of the AGB 2024 Board Professionals Conference will feature two eminent leaders—also former board professionals—who will provide an environmental scan of higher education strategic challenges and opportunities. Where should you apply your skill set back home, and to what end? This session will offer insight and inspiration to help you reset and be a difference-maker as your board strives to “meet the moment.”

Ellen Chaffee, interim president and CEO, AGB; former trustee, Des Moines University; former president, Valley City State University and Mayville State University

Bridget Burns, chief executive officer, University Innovation Alliance; former senior policy advisor and chief of staff, Oregon University System
Kevin Reilly, president emeritus, University of Wisconsin System; former secretary of the university, State University of New York System; AGB Senior Fellow

With thanks to our 2024 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.