Board Governance

The Challenge

Governance is poorly understood and neglected by far too many organizations. Over our many years of leading, consulting to and working as staff with a wide variety of not-for-profit Boards we have seen many issues consistently creating sub-optimal organizational outcomes:

  • Board members not clear on their role or contribution, not feeling they are making a difference
  • Meetings that bog down in details and re-cycle the same issues
  • Ineffective relationships between Boards and staff, often characterized by "meddling" Board members and frustrated staff
  • Inadequate oversight of core financial, personnel and program activities and outcomes

Our Approach

We custom-design an approach, working with Board Officers, senior staff, and the full Board, that could involve:

  1. A formal diagnosis (using confidential surveys) and analysis of both needs, challenges and opportunities for improvement;
  2. Clarification of the roles and mandate of various bodies: Staff, Officers, Committees and the full Board;
  3. Review and re-work key Board processes · planning, program and staff evaluation, financial oversight, meeting structure, recruitment and orientation.

We bring a wide arrange of time-proven models, processes, agendas and other resources that help Boards avoid re-inventing the wheel. We employ our extensive Board experience to make sure the solution is pragmatic and long-lasting.


"The David Suzuki Foundation engaged David Thomson of Coast Consulting to help us improve our board governance and guide a us through a strategic planning process. I also hired David to help build a governance structure and board plan for Al Gore’s Climate Project Canada. I am very happy with David’s work. Although the work was very challenging David did a great job. He is an impressive and effective coach and a professional who delivers on his commitments. I recommend him without reservation.”  

Jim Hoggan, Chair

David Suzuki Foundation


"From the entire Board, thank you for a concise, complete, relevant and timely discussion of governance. The previous governance consultant was chewed up by the Board. To a person all I heard was positive comments, and we agree that this knowledge will enable us to govern more effectively."
Board governance workshop, 2000

"David Thomson has been an invaluable resource to our Board over this past three years as we have journeyed to become a more effective, accountable and focused team. One of his many strengths as a facilitator and coach lies in his ability to bring together both a deep knowledge of governance issues with a breadth of "real life" Board experience. He makes it simple, real and understandable. "Dave's guidance -whether helping our new Board members up the learning curve quickly or by providing coaching to the entire Board on our roles and responsibilities as Directors - has been key to our own growth."
Cynthia Dyson
Director, Better Environmentally Sound Transportation
Chair, Board Development Committee


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