Becoming an Exceptional Board Director Candidate Education & Certification Course

with International Board Director Competency Designation (IBDC.D)

Course designed for aspiring and experienced Board Directors

Who benefits from this Education & Certification Course?

  • Aspiring Directors looking to gain a comprehensive understanding of Board operations, decisioning processes, and structures.

  • Experienced Directors with the desire to increase their own knowledge above what they have experienced as well as elevate and apply modern concepts to the Boards they serve.

  • Any level of Director (aspiring to experienced) looking to fully understand modern Board Director Candidate ‘packaging’ and marketing to land additional or their first Board seat(s).

The "Boarding School" for Leaders®

Course & Certification Introduction

In this exceptional Board Leadership Program, learn the proven and effective steps for not only modern-day Board operations, but also successfully plan and Implement your personal Board Director Candidate strategy. Experience how these achievable & focused efforts help you convey the experience and confidence needed for serious Board Director and Board Advisor consideration. Education & Certification Course is designed for any stage of your career and any level of Board experience (aspiring to experienced).

The Differentiator: Get both the modern Board Director Candidate packaging AND modern Board operations knowledge all in one shot while ALSO earning your globally recognized International Board Director Competency Designation (IBDC.D) certification.

Full Program Brochure & Curriculum

See even more of the course details here

How the course is structured, full curriculum, how much time to dedicate, testing processes, instructions on keeping your IBDC.D certification active, and much more...


Course / Certification Engagement Options

Choose the best learning option for you!


Course Contributors

See our subject matter experts (SMEs) in the course

+ many more included leadership experts…


Course Curriculum

  • 2

    Phase 1 / Session 1: Introduction to Program & Goal Setting

    • Phase 1 / Session 1 Start Video

    • Phase 1 / Session 1 Preparation Material & Outcome Guide: Introduction to Program & Goal Setting

    • Excerpt From Book: Across The Board - Foreword + Chapter 1 - Introduction

    • Thought Assignment: Personal Board Goals Form

    • Reading Assignment: Evaporating Pool of Officer-Ready Talent

    • Reading Assignment: Boards and the Baby Boomer Retirement Effect

    • Reading Assignment & Case Study: 5 Lasting Board Lessons From The Theranos Debacle

    • Reading Assignment: 7 Pivots For The COVID-Age Board

    • Video (optional, but recommended): 7 Pivots For The COVID-Age Board

    • Concept Writeup & Understanding: Introduction to Board Documents

    • Phase 1 / Session 1 Summary Video

    • Course Reminder + Offering

  • 3

    Phase 1 / Session 2: Board Director Trending & Future Prospects

    • Phase 1 / Session 2 Start Video

    • Phase 1 / Session 2 Preparation Material & Outcome Guide: Board Director Trending & Future Prospects

    • Reading Assignment: Early History of Boards

    • Excerpt From Book: Across The Board - Chapter 2 - Why Create Your Board + Chapter 3 - When to Create or Recreate Your Board

    • Reading Assignment: The Global Director vs. the Local Director

    • Reading Assignment: Heeding The Board's 5 Observables

    • Video (optional, but recommended): Heeding the Board's 5 Observables

    • Reading Assignment: The Continuing Manufacturer Uplift

    • Reading Assignment: Private Equity vs. the Traditional Company

    • Reading Assignment: Is Your Organization Surviving or Thriving?

    • Reading Assignment: The Board's Focus on HIAR

    • Bonus Article (optional, but recommended): The Great CEO Swap Out

    • Reading Assignment: POSE the ESOP Board

    • Phase 1 / Session 2 Summary Video

    • Course Reminder + Offering

  • 4

    Phase 1 / Session 3: The New Board Directorship Expectations

    • Phase 1 / Session 3 Start Video

    • Phase 1 / Session 3 Preparation Material & Outcome Guide: The New Board Directorship Expectations

    • Excerpt From Book: Across The Board - Chapter 4 - What Makes a Great Board?

    • Reading Assignment: Getting Back to Board Basics

    • Reading Assignment: The Board's Continuing Education Priority

    • Template (Optional): Board of Directors Continuing Education Policy

    • Reading Assignment: Do You Deal In Trust?

    • Reading Assignment: Your Personal Strategy During Times of Crisis

    • Reading Assignment: The Non-Executive Chairperson

    • Reading Assignment: Cancel Culture & the Board

    • Reading Assignment: On The Board of Public Opinion

    • Phase 1 / Session 3 Summary Video

    • Course Reminder + Offering

  • 5

    Phase 1 / Session 4: Showcasing Your Strategy & Governance Expertise

    • Phase 1 / Session 4 Start Video

    • Phase 1 / Session 4 Preparation Material & Outcome Guide: Showcasing Your Strategy & Governance Expertise

    • Excerpt From Book: Across The Board - Chapter 5 - The Role of Strategy + Chapter 6 - The Role of Governance

    • Video + Templates: Becoming The Strategic Executive

    • Video: Exceptional Board Governance

    • Reading Assignment: Why Do Boards Continue To Struggle With Strategy?

    • Video (optional, but recommended): Executing Strategy in the New Normal

    • Reading Assignment: Are Boards Embracing Innovation Governance?

    • Reading Assignment: Governing The Escalation Process

    • Video (optional, but recommended): Governing the Escalation Process

    • Template (Optional): Board Paper

    • Reading Assignment: The Foreseeable Supply Chain Crisis

    • Bonus Article (optional, but recommended): Can The Board Truly Govern A.I.?

    • Phase 1 / Session 4 Summary Video

    • Course Reminder + Offering

  • 6

    Phase 1 Completion Test

    • Phase 1 Test Prep

    • Phase 1 Completion Test

  • 7

    Phase 2 / Session 5: Aligning of Values, Vision, & Mission

    • Phase 2 / Session 5 Start Video

    • Phase 2 / Session 5 Preparation Material & Outcome Guide: Aligning of Values, Vision, & Mission

    • Excerpt From Book: Across The Board - Portion of Chapter 6 - The Role of Governance + Chapter 7 - Evaluating Values, Vision, & Mission

    • Reading Assignment: The Board Decisioning Process

    • Reading Assignment: The Risk & Values Alliance

    • Video: The Culture Imperative

    • Reading Assignment & Case Study: An Important Lesson in Board Director Risk

    • Video (optional, but recommended): Risk & the Resilient Governance Leader

    • Reading Assignment: Top 5 Mistakes Board Candidates Make

    • Reading Assignment: The Art of Respectful Dissent

    • Video (optional. but recommended): The VUCA Vectors

    • Thought Assignment: Core Leadership Traits List

    • Phase 2 / Session 5 Summary Video

    • Course Reminder + Offering

  • 8

    Phase 2 / Session 6: Board Member Behavioral Predisposition Evaluation Criteria

    • Phase 2 / Session 6 Start Video

    • Phase 2 / Session 6 Preparation Material & Outcome Guide: Board Member Behavioral Predisposition Evaluation Criteria

    • Excerpt From Book: Across The Board - Chapter 13 - Board Member Evaluation and Selection

    • Reading Assignment: 13 Signs of High Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

    • Video: Mindfulness Intelligence Leadership Excellence

    • Reading Assignment: 5 Characteristics of Grit - How Many Do You Have?

    • Reading Assignment: What Is Adversity Quotient (AQ)?

    • Reading Assignment: More Grits, Please!

    • Reading Assignment: The In-Between Director

    • Reading Assignment: The Board's CEO Succession Imperative

    • Reading Assignment (optional, but recommended): Robustly Measuring the CEO

    • Thought Assignment: Proper Board Documents Example - For Review Only (prep for future creation of YOUR proper Board Documents in Session 10...)

    • Phase 2 / Session 6 Summary Video

    • Course Reminder + Offering

  • 9

    Phase 2 / Session 7: Modern-Day Board Considerations & Selection Criteria

    • Phase 2 / Session 7 Start Video

    • Phase 2 / Session 7 Preparation Material & Outcome Guide: Modern-Day Board Considerations & Selection Criteria

    • Excerpt From Book: Across The Board - Chapter 8 - Sphere of Influence / Chapter 9 - Planes of Congruence / Chapter 10 - Coverage & Balance

    • Video: Modern Board Architecture

    • Reading Assignment: Performing a Board Architecture Assessment

    • Templates (Optional): Board Architecture Components

    • Reading Assignment: The Board Maturity Continuum

    • Reading Assignment: Effective Board Decision Making

    • Bonus Article (optional, but recommended): The Compliance Shepherd

    • Reading Assignment: The Poison Pill Defense

    • Reading Assignment: The Lake Wobegon Board

    • Reference: Major + 3 Minors Examples PLUS Important Board Candidate Packaging Tips

    • Thought Assignment: Deciding Your Major + 3 Minors

    • Phase 2 / Session 7 Summary Video

    • Course Reminder + Offering

  • 10

    Phase 2 / Session 8: Ensuring Your 'Career Trifecta'

    • Phase 2 / Session 8 Start Video

    • Phase 2 / Session 8 Preparation Material & Outcome Guide: Ensuring Your 'Career Trifecta'

    • Excerpt From Book: Across The Board - Portion Chapter 13 - Board Member Evaluation & Selection

    • Reading Assignment: The Board Candidate's Balancing Act

    • Reading Assignment: Forms and Filings Every Board Director Needs To Know

    • Reading Assignment: 5 Valuable Tips For Proper Financial Reviews

    • Reading Assignment: Governance During Inflationary Periods

    • Reading Assignment: The Board's Role In Leveraging The Gig Economy

    • Phase 2 / Session 8 Summary Video

    • Course Reminder + Offering

  • 11

    Phase 2 Completion Test

    • Phase 2 Test Prep

    • Phase 2 Completion Test

  • 12

    Phase 3 / Session 9: Aligning Yourself to Board Committees

    • Phase 3 / Session 9 Start Video

    • Phase 3 / Session 9 Preparation Material & Outcome Guide: Aligning Yourself to Board Committees

    • Excerpt From Book: Across The Board - Chapter 11 - The Importance of Board Committees

    • Reading Assignment: Who Nominated The Nominating Committee?

    • Reading Assignment: The Importance of Committee Reporting

    • Templates (Optional): Board Committee Reporting Templates

    • Reading Assignment: Informed Consent or Repent?

    • Reading Assignment: The SmorgasBoard - Navigating Universal Proxy Rules

    • Reading Assignment: Creating a Cybersecurity-Savvy Board

    • Reading Assignment: The ESG Challenge

    • Reading Assignment: The Pre-IPO Board

    • Video (optional, but recommended): The Pre-IPO Board

    • Reading Assignment: In The Board's Shadow

    • Phase 3 / Session 9 Summary Video

    • Course Reminder + Offering

  • 13

    Phase 3 / Session 10: Creating Your Modern Board Documents

    • Phase 3 / Session 10 Start Video

    • Phase 3 / Session 10 Preparation Material & Outcome Guide: Creating Your Modern Board Documents

    • Reading Assignment: No, You Cant Submit a Resume or CV For This Board Seat!

    • Reading Assignment: 7 Steps To Create A Killer Board Document

    • Templates: Board Documents + Cover Letter

    • Template: Quote Request

    • C-Level Pro Tip: Leveraging Your Board Documents for C-Level Opportunities

    • Reading Assignment: Human Capital Disclosure & The Board

    • Video: Human Capital Disclosure & The Board

    • Video: Boost Your Chances of Getting On The Board

    • Board Documents - Support Offerings

    • Phase 3 / Session 10 Summary Video

    • Course Reminder + Offering

  • 14

    Phase 3 / Session 11: Establishing Your Authority

    • Phase 3 / Session 11 Start Video

    • Phase 3 / Session 11 Preparation Material & Outcome Guide: Establishing Your Authority

    • Reading Assignment: 7 Strategies for Establishing Authority

    • Reading Assignment: 15 Ways to Establish Authority in Your Field

    • Video: Maximizing Your Online Presence

    • Excerpt From Book: Across The Board - Chapter 14 - Board Assessments, Tools, and Insurance

    • Video: Performing Effective Board Evaluations

    • Reading Assignment: Do You Do The D&O?

    • Video: Do You Do The D&O?

    • Reading Assignment: 5 Steps to Nailing Your Board Director Interview

    • Video (optional, but recommended): 5 Steps to Nailing Your Board Director Interview

    • Template (Optional): Example Board Candidate Interview Mutual Non-Disclosure Agreement (MNDA)

    • Reading Assignment: The Board Candidate's Checklist

    • Video (optional, but recommended): The Board Candidate's Checklist

    • Reading Assignment: The Waiting Game

    • Phase 3 / Session 11 Summary Video

    • Course Reminder + Offering

  • 15

    Phase 3 / Session 12: Successfully Marketing Yourself

    • Phase 3 / Session 12 Start Video

    • Phase 3 / Session 12 Preparation Material & Outcome Guide: Successfully Marketing Yourself

    • Reading Assignment: 7 of the Most Effective Ways to Market Yourself Successfully

    • Reading Assignment: 7 Strategies for Marketing Yourself

    • Video: The Power of Your Online Presence

    • Excerpt From Book: Across The Board - Chapters 12 - Available Options and Services To Build Your Board + Chapter 15 - Implementation Summary and Motivation

    • Reading Assignment & Download: Detailed Board Pitch Book Example

    • Video: Get Your Butt on a Private Equity Board

    • Reading Assignment: How Much Should You Be Paid as a Board Director?

    • Video (optional, but recommended): How Much Should You Be Paid as a Board Director?

    • Reading Assignment: Voted Off The Island - How To Remove Problematic Board Members

    • Bonus Article (optional, but recommended): Are You Hindering Your Appointment?

    • Phase 3 / Session 12 Summary Video

    • Course Reminder + Offering

  • 16

    Phase 3 Completion Test

    • Phase 3 Test Prep

    • Phase 3 Completion Test

  • 17

    Final Exam

    • Final Exam Test Prep

    • Important Note: Upcoming Course Completion & Graduation

    • Final Exam

  • 18

    Course Completion + Next Steps

    • Course Completion + Next Steps Start Video

    • Important Course Completion Notes & Details

    • Performance Coaching - Support Offering

    • Course Survey + Director Spotlight Opportunity!

Course Add-Ons

Additional in-course services to help you thrive



  • With so many Board education programs out there, what makes this one special?

    Good question. Yes, there are many Board education and certification programs out there - but they are not all created equal. Most programs solely focus on Board operations or require you to read through countless case studies... but is this truly increasing your boardroom effectiveness or elevating your chances of appointment? Not likely. Our unique program integrates the important parallel learning streams of modern Board architecture and operations alongside modern Board Candidate packaging principles to get you appointed. Additionally, most Board certifications are local or regional - commonly by country. This limited lens keeps them mired solely in governance models linked exclusively to that territory’s ethos and disclosure laws (micro viewpoint). When a Director or Board does not complement this with equal focus on expanded strategy and innovation – the larger, integrated global picture (macro viewpoint) – this can easily minimize the Director's and the Board’s effectiveness. Our Board education and certification course infuses micro and macro Board teachings to make you "globally viable." Why get a regional Board certification when you can go global?

  • What is the best registration option for me?

    We offer our registrants 3 course options. These include 1:1, Group, and On-Demand. All of these options leverage the same learning materials on the same learning platform with the difference being the incorporation of 1.5 hours of live sessions with a Board expert in each of the 12 Session modules (see the comparison chart on the main course page). In the 1:1 model, a registrant is able to cater all live time directly to their specific needs (career path, future plans, remedial areas, next steps, etc.). In the Group model, registrants have the ability to learn from others' questions, network, and participate in a group atmosphere. Although the On-Demand version does not offer live time, all lesson summaries are delivered via recorded video sessions directly in the program.

  • How long has the program been around?

    The original program started in 2012 as a senior executive and Board Director coaching offering with clients around the world. With the success of the program, growing mostly from referrals, the program was expanded internationally into a formal Board education course in 2018 for both aspiring and experienced Directors. As the course further matured, the IBDC.D global certification was added in 2020 along with the online learning platform launched in 2021. Today's program is fully evolved and provides an in-depth Board education and certification program recognized globally.

  • Is the IBDC.D certification well known?

    Absolutely. In addition to the large number of course graduates, along with many current course registrants, we boast an incredible presence in public, private, and nonprofit boardrooms around the world. The IBDC.D credential also appears yearly in many public company proxy statements when providing biographical information on their Directors. Additionally, we have a global network of Board education & certification partners who represent our course in countless industries and verticals.

  • How does the IBDC.D course and certification support diversity and inclusion?

    The IBDC.D credential has evolved to represent the pinnacle in international Board Director education & certification and our program is open to all participants in any region. In addition to numerous lessons throughout the course directly focused on the topic of diversity and inclusion, we have also catered our pricing models to welcome historically underrepresented portions of the global population into the program and ultimately get their seat in the boardroom.

  • How do I keep my IBDC.D certification active?

    Program graduates receive their IBDC.D certification valid for a period of 3 years following their successful course completion. Within each 3-year recertification period, 15 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits are required for demonstrated ongoing professional development and to keep the designation active. (See the 'Program Brochure & Curriculum' on the main course page for more details on earning your CPEs). Although there is a small recertification fee every 3 years, it is worth noting that the majority of our CPE credit opportunities, offered both internally as well as through our global network of education and certification partners, are free! No yearly membership fees. No pay-per-credit. Just ongoing learning! You also have the ability to submit CPE credits for your own Board-aligned actions. Be sure to see our popular Loyalty Program which waives your recertification fee in the current 3-year recertification period when referring 3 course candidates who sign up for any of the course registration options.

  • How does an employer, Board, or organization where I am a Board Candidate verify my IBDC.D credential?

    We have made this process very easy! Simply direct the person or group responsible for verification to send a request to the email [email protected] for current certification status (completed, active, inactive). There is also a reference and link to this on the main course landing page if you prefer to send the requestor here:

  • How much time is required to complete the program?

    As with anything worthwhile, you will need to dedicate yourself to this program. The course curriculum includes a deep, curated library of expert articles, video lectures, recorded webinars, Board Candidate packaging templates, and many other informational reference materials designed to make the lessons impactful and easily implemented. The program is divided into three phases, each with a total of four session focus areas. Registrants should expect to dedicate the following amount of time to successfully complete the program: Total of 12 sessions (1 each week for 1:1 & Group, at your own pace for On-Demand): ~1.5 - ~3.5 hours per session for preparation and prework. For 1:1 and Group option, + 1.5 hours for each live session summary lecture and overview. Short 20-minute test following the completion of each of the 3 phases. Final exam taking approximately 1 hour at the completion of all 3 phases / all 12 sessions.

  • How long do I have access to the course materials?

    Starting from your course registration date, you have a full 365 days to access the course and all its lessons. Additionally, know that you have the ability to download all course materials and templates at any time (excluding the video lessons due to file size). Many of our course registrants love the ability to download the content for future reference as well as the ability to complete lessons while traveling without internet access.

  • Can one course truly cater to both aspiring and experienced Directors simultaneously?

    We answer this question with a confident and emphatic "yes!" The truth is that both aspiring Directors and experienced Directors require much of the same training (or re-learning) to be successful as modern-day Directors into the future in their roles. As much as it pains us to say it, even so-called experienced Directors have a lot of deprogramming and reprogramming required based on their experiences. This course is intentionally designed and curated to not be too fast for aspiring Directors and not be too slow for experienced Directors. All Director background levels take away meaningful and implementable lessons to apply in their roles and become viable modern Board Directors and Board Candidates.

  • Is there a membership fee or do I have to "join" your organization?

    No way. We don't work like that. Most Board education and certification organizations force you to become a member, pay a yearly membership fee, and then additionally pay for each and every CPE credit you are required to earn. Sound familiar? For us, it's not necessarily about revenue, but more so about making an impact globally. There is no reason that a Board education and certification program (like ours) can't be affordable and impactful at the same time. Our organization Values demand it.

  • How is the course kept updated and modern?

    We make frequent updates in the course to keep it current. Some examples include additions to articles and case studies where recent court rulings have been made, adding of video lessons on new and relevant challenges facing Directors, and extra inputs from experts in numerous fields.

  • Can my organization or company cover the cost of the course?

    Absolutely. Many individuals and groups do exactly this by proposing their continuing education goals to their organization for expense appproval. Continuous learning (also covered in the course) is paramount for todays leaders and Directors to make the proper impact in the boardroom and within the organizations they serve.

  • Is the IBDC.D program accredited?

    By our deliberate design, the answer is "no." Why did we take this route? A non-accredited course can produce practical skills over a much shorter time frame with the ability to apply your new skills to your role much sooner. You will also find you can cut out a lot of the extraneous content you would otherwise have to study via a longer course and walk away with the skills and knowledge to apply these in real life more quickly. Additionally, there is a reason our prices are so affordable! Accreditation has the nasty habit of drastically increasing course and credentialing costs for registrants - something we simply won't put up with, especially as it relates to our commitment to diversity and inclusion (see previous FAQ on this topic). Know that this decision in no way undermines or lessens the impact our unique course makes with you - our student. With decades of input, expertise, and experience at your fingertips in the course, you will likely come away asking yourself why IBDC.D is not the organization reviewing and certifying other Board courses...

  • Does the IBDC.D organization help Directors in the course to get placed/appointed?

    Not exactly, as IBDC.D is not a placement organization. Our parent company M. A. Pfister Strategy Group does, however, make a significant number of Director Candidate introductions and referrals to our clients where we are serving in a consulting & advisory capacity (i.e. building a Board's Nominating Committee processes) - leading to dozens of Board appointments yearly. These recommendations are reserved for those course graduates of the 1:1 program and we do not receive any fees or compensation for these referrals and appointments.

Still have questions? Email us at [email protected] 



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