December 2019 - In This Issue:


At Jeanne Reaves Consulting, we work with both corporate and nonprofit boards.  CEO Jeanne Reaves not only understands the governance expectations of a board member, but she also enjoys the time required to accept such a position. Likewise, Jeanne enjoys assisting other board members and acting as a sounding board for the team so that the corporation can see the successes of the board.
Company Spotlight: A Q&A With CEO Jeanne Reaves
With a passion and commitment to help both local and statewide organizations achieve their goals, Jeanne Reaves has served on numerous non-profit and corporate boards to lend her business expertise and experiences. So what talents and skills does Jeanne feel are most valuable for helping a board of directors to succeed? And what about conflict? If the board is divided, how can the organization get back on track? Jeanne answers these questions and more below!   

Q:  What skills, talents and experience do you look for in a board member? 

A: All boards should have a matrix of their board members and the desired expertise, gender, age, etc. for prospect board members. This helps ensure they have the right talent on the board to represent the needs of the organization, and for non-profits, the needs of community as well.

Q:  How can board members best work together to achieve the organization's goals they represent?

A: A strategic plan should be in place, and the board needs to review the plan no less than quarterly to ensure all board members and staff are working together to achieve goals in the short term and the long term. It should also be understood that board members are fiduciary members who oversee the organization and are not to "manage" the organization. The CEO manages the organization, and the board is only responsible to manage the performance of said CEO and the oversight of the organization.

Q:  If a board is divided, how can they work to get back on track? 

A: Depending on how divided the board is, a couple of steps can be taken. If it is just differences of opinion (which is healthy), then typically the executive committee or board chair can meet with board members most uneasy with what is occurring, and find common ground. If it is a difficult or particularly sensitive situation, an objective third party can help. At Jeanne Reaves Consulting, we have performed individual meetings with each board member so the underlining issues can be addressed, and then find a way for collaboration and harmony.

Q:  As an active member of the community, and having served on multiple boards, what advice do you have for a new board member?

A: Make sure the orientation is clear and material is provided regarding programs, funding and financial statements so the learning curve is easier. Ask for the strategic plan so you know the direction the organization desires over a term specified. Don't leave your skills at the door when you arrive, you were selected because of your talents and reputation so make sure you are available when the organization requests your help. Read the "board package" sent to you prior to the board meeting and participate in meetings. If you are not clear on items within the board package, call the CEO, board chair or fellow board member for clarity.

Are you interested in learning more about our services, and how we help organizations with board governance? Contact us today, for a free consultation! 

Why Should Family Businesses and Private Companies Have Outside Directors?
Both family businesses and private companies tend to struggle with the decision of when and why they should bring outside professionals on to their boards of directors. It's not uncommon for us to hear things such as:    
"Should I have a board that includes outside directors? Why?"
"I don't want someone telling us what to do. What if they take over and we can't do what we want to do? Will they slow us down?"
"It will cost us money to put outside board members on our board, and we will have more work to do. Will they want to look at our company financials?" 
"Who would we ask to be on our board?"   
We have heard these questions, concerns and reasons time and time again about why companies believe they should, or should not, have outside board members.  
I have had the honor of sitting on a couple of family owned boards, and have immensely enjoyed the privilege of doing so. I haven't chosen to do so based on any of the reasons suggested above. Rather, I have done so because I believe I bring an opportunity for the CEO to ask for advice, provide a different perspective all while remaining objective because I am not wrapped up in the internal operations of the company.
Outside board members enjoy and feel good when a CEO asks questions that complement their experience. It helps the CEO make objective decisions - having someone they can bounce a problem off of, as well as see all sides of a problem and help find the best solution. For me, having a banking background in addition to strategic and leadership skills set, I have been able to provide an outside perspective that has helped identify strengths, or something the CEO might want to be aware of. Candidly speaking, I may initially question something, but it truly is for the good of the company. Creating an opportunity to broaden a company's perspective is helpful and provides the CEO an opportunity to both weigh and debate the facts from knowledgeable people who are on their side.
Statistics show there are a higher percentage of companies that make it through a crisis and a downturn in the market with outside directors. Remember, board members do not manage the company they ensure the company is well managed. A board of advisors may be something to consider in a family or privately held business. Because of that, it's important to talk through the objectives and the skill set of who you would like to invite on to the board and why. 
For the benefit of this strategic initiative, I asked David Lucchetti, President and CEO of Pacific Coast Building Products, a family owned business, why they have outside directors.
"I think it's important because an outside board member offers a different business knowledge and an outside perspective," said David Lucchetti, President and CEO of Pacific Coast Building Products. "This outside perspective helps provide a good checks and balances system. They can help the family business to see beyond what they've always done by raising important questions, and helping the business make future decisions."  
How do you go about considering this important decision? How can you get your questions answered on this subject? At Jeanne Reaves Consulting, we can help you determine your next best move. Contact us today

Notable Nonprofits

Supporting Sacramento's nonprofits is  important  to us

Established in 1912 and redeveloped in 2015, the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera is a collaborative cultural pillar institution dedicated to serving the greater community - from youth music education in the classroom, to main stage performances of orchestral and operatic music at the highest regional caliber - and contributing to the growth of Sacramento's Creative Economy.

The Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera is enjoying its fifth season as a melded organization under the executive leadership of Alice Sauro, and once again offers the very best artistic talent and musical innovation to audiences throughout the region. As an emissary for the arts to a culturally diverse region, the organization continues its long history of community engagement and dedication through outreach initiatives that bring the passion of classical music to schools, hospitals, shelters, and more. We retain this spirit of community involvement in our programming choices - from festivals on Beethoven to commissioned new music to holiday shows featuring today's pop, soul and rock artists - by offering a broad spectrum of musical styles we aim to serve our community with many access points.

For the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera's 2019-2020 season, all of Sacramento will become the stage. With the Orchestra's home, the Sacramento Community Center Theater, beginning a year-long renovation, the seven concert series will feature symphonic and operatic programs in three magnificent venues: Memorial Auditorium, Fremont Presbyterian Church, and Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. The SP&O will return to the renovated Community Center Theater in Fall of 2020.

For more information about the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera, and to purchase tickets or subscriptions, please visit or call 916-476-4975.

Jeanne Reaves

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