Best Practices

Getting family members to embrace an independent advisory board can be an uphill battle, so broaching the subject takes diplomacy and good timing.

Mike Kiolbassa, president of the smoked meat business Kiolbassa Provision Company, Inc., struggled to convince his family that creating an independent board was good for the future.

“It was a 68-year-old company,” he explains. “My dad was there 50 years, me for 30 years. They said, ‘Why? Are we going to lose control? Does this cede our control?’”

Creating the best private company board comes down to making room for independent voices, innovative compensation ideas and a clear view to the future, says Cheryl Mayberry McKissack, CEO of Nia Enterprises, who sits on public and private boards.

“The first thing you have to ask yourself is do you believe in governance,” stresses McKissack, director for the Donnelley Foundation and Founders First Capital Partners, LLC.

An interview with Dennis Chookaszian, retired chairman and CEO of CNA Insurance Companies, conducted by Roger Nanney, vice chairman, Deloittle LLP, and national managing partner of Deloitte Growth Enterprise Services. 

Can you talk about your background?

A breakdown on how they can add value. 

Mead & Hunt, a private architectural-engineering consulting firm, takes its cues from public companies when it comes to governance.

When private companies need an ethics plan

By Eve Tahmincioglu

The latest developments in the Uber saga, including a legal complaint against the former CEO and shareholder feuding, are just another sign of how the ride-hailing company could have benefited from strong ethics guidelines.

By Barbara Spector

Uber director leaves after sexist joke about women on boards

By Eve Tahmincioglu

Faced with statistics about how one woman on a board leads to more gender diversity, an Uber director made a crack about how it actually leads to more talking.

Lessons for boards from Uber scandals

By Stan Silverman

Uber is known for its very aggressive, only-the-strong-survive competitive culture. But that tone, set largely by the company’s co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick, may have contributed to the ride-hailing powerhouse’s recent woes.


Even for those that have years of experience, mentoring and guidance, making the leap to an executive leadership position is a challenge that is hard to fully prepare for. There’s no way to understand what it’s like to sit in an executive chair until you get there. Even when you do, being successful requires you to be in a constant state of learning. Which makes it all the more surprising that so few companies invest in the kind of training and development programs that can ease the transition.