Rebecca Peterson

Rebecca Peterson

We recently spoke to FBC Member and Governance Institute participant, Rebecca Peterson (Sasser Family Holdings) and asked her to share with us what it’s like to be enrolled in the Governance Institute. Check out her take on what happens in the classroom and the valuable tools she’s taking back to her family business.

How has this program impacted your thinking about your role as a director?
This program has encouraged me to look at the role of the board more dynamically and from a higher level.  Hearing about how much the structure of a board (types of directors / structure of the board meetings, etc.) can shape the work of the board also helped me better align our needs as both a business and a family with the types of meetings and directors that will work best for us, both now and in the future.

What are you doing differently in relation to your board based on what you’ve learned in the governance institute?
One of the things we’ve changed is our compensation structure for our directors; this change was made based on discussion and outside advice we received in the Governance Institute from two guest speakers.  I’m also more comfortable in my role and am finding my voice in meetings more as well as remembering the bigger picture.

How has learning in a cohort over time been helpful?
Learning in a cohort is unique because we can watch as other businesses and families try out ideas and develop.  We are engaged in each other’s experience and story which makes the real-time learning all the more impactful.

Why should someone take this program?
I would love for both family directors and non-family directors to participate in this program in order to best roundout the conversations each cohort has. Discussions on how to manage conversations from each perspective are invaluable.  Having a basic understanding on what a board is expected to do and how each individual member can best bring their talents to the table is very helpful.

How is this program different from other family business education programs that you have taken part in?
The length of time this program runs is one of the distinguishing factors.  Allowing for 18 months so the evolution of directors / boards can begin creates an opportunity for even more learning.  I also like the two-day meeting schedule with limited work in-between sessions. This allows me to continue to manage the rest of my responsibilities but be entirely engaged during the sessions themselves.

What has been most valuable about this program to you?
The conversations and research presented on bias has been the most directly impactful to me so far.  Remembering to look at board packets and decisions, while cautious about which lens I might be using, can help avoid overly risky avenues in the future or prevent a missed opportunity.