Posts Tagged ‘FEI’

FEI/Woodruff Saywer Panel: Securing Your First Board of Directors Seat

February 11th, 2010 Comments off

            Last night I had the chance to attend another great FEI dinner for what has been a great 2010 season. Although the events have all been memorable this year, last night provided another opportunity to revisit the topic of securing your first Board of Directors seat. It was a repeat of the panel hosted earlier in the year by Woodruff-Sawyer, which also happens to be a sponsore of the Orange County Chapter of FEI.  Also a good opportunity to catch-up with Ron Pakhouz and Jared Pelissier and hear about their great start to this year and the new clients they’ve been signing.

            For the panel last night, we were also fortunate enough to have the same high-caliber panel, which include Paul Folino (Chairman of Emulex), Priya Huskins (D&O expert extraordinare of Woodruff-Saywer), and Bruce Lachenauer, who specializes in Board member recruitment. I’m not going to go into a full overview of the panel, since much of what was discussed at the earlier one was repeated here. However, below are some of the key takeaway points by the panel members last night.


– More HR positions relative to the Comp committee.

– 40% of current new Board members are brand new vs. 16% previously.

– Last 4-months Board activity is up 40%.

– Large increase due to need for financial expertise.

            A. 25% are CFO’s

            B. 25% are from Audit firms

            C. 25% are from Investment Banks.

            D. 25% from other functions.

– “The days of the Generalist on the board are dissipating…” – Folino

– Develop a Board that has broad-based strengths and can contribute to all areas… – Folino

– Regardless of your functional area of expertise, you better be able to have a valuable point of view/position on all Board issues – Priya Huskins

– What can you do to make yourself a more attractive Board candidate? – Bruce Lachenauer

– There is no on-the-job training for a Board…you need to hit the ground running – Lachenauer

– How do you leverage Private or Non-Profit Board experience to Public? Typically there are Public individuals sitting on the former. – Folino

– I can’t think of a better time for individuals to be looking for Board seats than now. – Folino

– It’s not just about D&O insurance, it’s about the conduct leading up to questionable events and the quality of due diligence. – Lachenauer

– It moves beyond more than just the financial risk, but the risk to your personal reputation – Folino

– There’s an absolute need to scrutinize your fellow Board members & their reputations – Huskins

– What are the opportunities to interview the Executive Team of the company before making a decision? – Lachenauer

– I can’t imagine not having someone w/ a strong legal background on the Board when it comes to M&A activities. – Folino

– Participating as a Board members vs Advisors involves a much higher level of accountability. – Huskins

– This is the first year that Brokers will not be able to cast votes for Board members, which may create a very interesting environment for Board retention. – Huskins

– The Nominating Committee is now usually headed up by an outside Director as opposed to the CEO. – Folino – A New Platform for Corporate Finance

September 28th, 2009 Comments off

            Over the last 18-months, I’ve been continuing to develop my blog and use it as a platform to provide wider insights to a primarily non-Finance population. The goal has been to improve financial awareness through all functional areas of an organization and allow those groups to better understand what “drives” the Finance department, which often, may not be the best communicator. Fortunately, I’ve been able to provide as much value for the corporate finance community as well.  Recently, I was contacted by John Kogan, the founder of , to provide guest blog commentary, along with some peers whom I have been fortunate enough to network with.

            After speaking with John, I immediately liked the direction he was going with, which is a “free, open, and independent community of corporate finance, accounting and related professionals interested in asking questions, sharing knowledge and resources, and getting work done”. The site “provides a common ground on which to meet, communicate, and help one another with day-to-day issues involved in the highly complex and technical worlds we work in”.  The other aspect of the site that I was immediately impressed with was the documented Community Conduct page.  While simple and obvious, there are rules to abide by on the site, and if not followed, will be enforced and users dropped or sanctioned.  Additionally, there is no self-promotion on the site…i.e. advertising. There are no press releases, spam, schemes, or other promotional materials allowed. Bottom line, it’s a finance-centric site that is operated by and for corporate finance professionals.

            On the site, there are a number of different areas that are of keen interest. Particularly, there is an offering of different groups, discussions, resources, jobs, blogs, and events. As an example, the offering within the Group section includes:

Ø  CFO’s

Ø  Corporate Controllers

Ø  Cost Accounting

Ø  Director / VP Finance

Ø  FEI members

Ø  Non-Profit finance

Ø  Risk Management


            John has put together a great platform with , and if you work in Finance, there’s definitely a value in helping to promote and build this platform. It’s worth taking a few minutes to review, sign-up, and be a part of this platform.


Thanks for reading . . . .


Jeffrey Ishmael

How would you rate your professional network? Really….

August 20th, 2008 Comments off

When I first found myself in the first forced search of my career I thought I had established a fairly strong personal and professional network that I could look to for guidance and feedback in my search. After all, I graduated from USC with my MBA, which has a tremendous network, and I have spent most of my entire professional career in Orange County. Whenever there were challenges or I needed to add to my staff I always knew what contacts I could turn to. What my network provided me was the insight on further dialing in my search and helping me to expand my network. They helped me become acquainted with new organizations that I will likely continue using for the rest of my career.

The most redeeming part though is that I have made some fantastic new contacts within these groups, that I have met with personally away from the dinners and networking meetings. Folks that I equally enjoy helping in their efforts, but absolutely appreciate for their feedback, professionalism, and expertise. So what are the groups that might be worth your time?

1. Financial Executives International (FEI): There are chapters in most major metropolitan areas across the country. They run about a 9-month calendar with a monthly dinner that hosts speaker(s) from market leading companies or to panel discussions affecting the Finance community.
2. Financial Executives Networking Group (FENG): Another great Finance network that shares professional expertise and has been a great source of potential career leads and subject discussion boards.
3. USC Marshall Alumni: The alumni group for the business school at USC. The group hosts monthly breakfasts with a variety of speakers, lunches, as well as informal evening mixers. Another great way to meet your professional peers.

I could continue profiling more groups, but it comes down to the question of what you’re doing to bolster your professional network. This is not simply to prepare you for a potential search that you will likely encounter over the next few years, but surrounding yourself with talented individuals that can be a great source of expertise. Individuals that you can call on when it comes time to call in some artillery for one of those key projects. The formation of my network will extend far beyond any search efforts that I will encounter in my career. So how do you rate your professional network? Really…..

Thanks for reading . . . .