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Becoming an Effective Chair Programme: June 2024

Step up to Chair with confidence with our 3 session programme, combining leading-edge research and practical experience in the role.

Date and Time
13 Jun 2024
10:00 - 12:00
Not Specified
Director’s Circle
£ 750
Full Member
£ 750
Digital Member
£ 1000
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Terms & Conditions

Refunds for all our individual events are available if notice is given three business days prior by email or telephone, or one month prior to first session of our programmes. After this, a transfer to another event will be given. Cancellations on the same business day will not generally be eligible for a refund or transfer, however you may substitute someone to come in your place. In the case of exceptional circumstances let us know and we will consider a refund/transfer.

Non-executives need to work highly independently and rely on their own judgement – this is even more true for Chairs. By developing your understanding of the complexities of the role, both practical and interpersonal, you can gain assurance that your approach is truly effective. 

Our ‘Becoming an effective Chair’ programme supports you to do just this, with a small group of your peers. Aimed at both current and aspiring Chairs, the three session programme combines leading board effectiveness research with practical experience. Both facilitators are experienced Chairs and two guest speakers, with long-time experience of chairing complex boards, will join the final session to share their insights.

This programme will equip you to step up to Chair, whether your first role or to a more complex board, and to enhance your effectiveness in the role – as well as expanding your network of experienced NEDs.

Led by two experienced Chairs, you and a small cohort of your peers (12 participants max.) will consider lessons from current research on the Chair’s role in board effectiveness and discuss their practical application, contextualised with personal experiences. The programme will examine the Chair’s role in ensuring the board fulfils its responsibilities and overseeing board processes as well as the personal style and qualities that help make an effective Chair.

By the end of the programme you will have enhanced your network with connections to a diverse peer group of non-executive directors and Chairs. See below for further details including dates of all three sessions.

Who should attend this workshop?

“With such a shortage of female Chairs, this initiative is much welcomed and brings excellent practical experience/ advice to help more women be prepared and motivated to aim for Chair roles.”
Jacqui FergusonPortfolio Non Exec Director, Chair & Advisor, Sunday Times Dame Helen Alexander NED to Watch Winner 2018

“A unique offer for entry-level Chairs to consider their approach to the role – the insights from such highly experienced speakers will be of tremendous value.”
Monica Chadha, portfolio NED & Chair, Cranfield Woman to Watch list 2019

The programme is limited to 12 participants and is suited to:

  • Non-executives who are considering taking on a Chair position in the future and want to build a deeper understanding of the role;
  • Chairs targeting more complex Chair positions, perhaps in a different sector or of a full board;
  • Chairs seeking to develop their skills and effectiveness and understand the latest thinking around effective governance;

Given the highly interactive nature of the programme, we anticipate that participants will learn as much from each other as they do from the main speakers, as well as extending their network of peers. 

All participants must have sufficient board experience to realistically consider a Chair position now or in future or currently be in a board or committee Chair role. The programme is relevant to all types of boards and sectors. 

Do get in touch if you are unsure of your suitability for this programme: contact@wbdirectors.co.uk / 020 3925 4080

Programme schedule:

Session 1 – Thursday 13th June 2024, 10am-12pm

Session 1 is focused on the WHAT of being an effective Chair and will cover:

  • the role of the Chair in the context of the role of the board;
  • the board processes that the Chair oversees and which support the board’s effectiveness: preparing for and managing board meetings; facilitating non-exec involvement outside board meetings; and the board maintenance cycle (recruitment, reviews, etc)
  • How the role of the Chair compares across different sectors

Session 2 – Friday 14th June 2024, 10am-12pm

Session 2 is focused on the HOW of being an effective Chair and will cover:

  • three core challenges to board effectiveness that a Chair needs to understand and manage: the information asymmetry between the board and management; making best use of limited board time; the complex interpersonal dynamics of the boardroom
  • the personal style and qualities that help make an effective Chair
  • managing stakeholders and the role of the Chair in a crisis

Session 3 – Thursday 20th June 2024, 10am-12pm

Session 3 will be focused around the experience of two guest speakers with broad, cross-sector board and Chair experience.  As well as hearing from the guest speakers and interacting in a Q&A, participants will spend 15 to 20 minutes in a breakout room with each Chair.

Our guest Chairs for this programme are:

Gaenor Bagley is a Non-executive Director, Chair and Executive leader, with 30 years of professional services experience, including at Board level.

She is currently Chair of Trustees at TKAT, Non-executive Director and Chair of the Audit and Remuneration Committees at Zopa Bank, Non-executive Director at Octopus Titan VCT plc and the UK National Audit Office, External Member of University Council and Chair of the Remuneration Committee at Cambridge University, Non-executive Director and Chair of the Audit Committee at Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Chair of the International Advisory Board at Leeds University Business School.

Bernard Donoghue has over 30 years board experience (chair, director and trustee) of some of the UK’s best known and well regarded NGO’s; senior executive experience across a range of organisations including central government, government agencies, EU and UN political institutions and charities.

He is currently Chair of Bristol Old Vic, Chair of People’s History Museum and Chair of the National Trust Regional Advisory Board for London & the South East.

Bernard is the Mayor of London’s Ambassador for Cultural Tourism and is a member of the Mayor’s Cultural Leadership Board

Programme Leads:


Rowena Ironside

Rowena spent 25 years as an executive in the ICT sector, starting out writing software in Australia; building an IT services business in London; and running international services businesses in the software and hosting industries. Rowena has been a non-executive member of boards in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors since 2006, including 5 years as the inaugural Chair of the charity Compassion in Dying. She was executive Chair of Women on Boards UK from its launch in 2012 until October 2020 and is currently Chair of the healthcare charity PSPA and an independent committee Chair for THIS Institute. Rowena attended INSEAD’s Leading from the Chair programme in 2019.

Lisa Jones

Business Angel Investor, NED, Women on Boards Consultant, Ambassador and Presenter

Lisa’s business life has been spent in marketing communications agencies, working on business-to-business clients across Europe. Lisa is well known in the industry for being passionate and capable. She is skilled at challenging and inspiring others which is why she was also the Board Director responsible for implementing agency personal performance training alongside her client relationship responsibilities. In addition to supporting WOB UK Ltd, Lisa is an active business angel investor. Lisa is also trustee, and Chair, for the London based charity Regenerate which helps to transform deprived communities from the inside and a NED on a start up CIC called The Feel Good Bakery.