Program Experience

Highlights and Key Outcomes

In Boards That Lead, you will:

  • Understand how the role of a board of directors has changed in today’s increasingly regulated business environment
  • Gain an insider’s view of some of the world’s most dynamic boardrooms from the executives who lead them
  • Acquire the proven road map for designing and leading an effective board
  • Uncover the best methods to recruit and select the most qualified directors
  • Collaborate more effectively as a board director, chairperson, or chief executive

Experience & Impact

Based on the book Boards That Lead: When to Take Charge, When to Partner, and When to Stay Out of the Way, this program provides the latest thinking from some of the world’s most knowledgeable boardroom veterans on how directors can best make a leadership difference.

It will examine the changing role of boards with some of the world’s most preeminent thought leaders on the subject. Participants who currently serve on a board will learn how to improve their leadership and decision-making effectiveness. Aspiring board members and those whose roles involve extensive contact with directors will get fresh insights on how to partner with boards and build boards that add new value to the company.

Classroom sessions will be led by faculty and distinguished practitioners who are trusted advisors to some of the world’s most successful CEOs and companies such as GE, Bank of America, DuPont, Novartis, EMC, Home Depot, and Verizon. In addition, Boards That Lead will give participants an insider’s view of some of today’s most notable executive offices and boardrooms. An evening panel of prominent, highly experienced executives and directors will share their insights and discuss specific strategies and approaches.

In sum, this program provides board directors and chief executives with insights and proven strategies to build and lead boards more effectively.

Session topics include:

  • The New Role of the Board
  • CEO and Director Selection
  • Designing Effective Boards
  • How to Succeed in the Boardroom
  • Board Principles

Through practitioner-led lectures and first-rate networking with other boardroom leaders, participants will discover their own pathway for leadership success.

Specifically, you will learn:

  • What a company should look for when recruiting new directors
  • How a board can effectively engage and motivate corporate management
  • How a board determines suitability when hiring a new CEO
  • How an institutional investor or private equity or hedge fund should evaluate a board before investing in a company

audio icon

Listen to the Knowledge@Wharton Podcast

Academic Director Michael Useem talks about why C-suite leaders should “go long” in their business outlook and focus on long-term growth.

Due to our application review period, applications submitted after 12:00 p.m. ET on Friday for programs beginning the following Monday may not be processed in time to grant admission. Applicants will be contacted by a member of our Client Relations Team to discuss options for future programs and dates.

Advisory Board

Boards that Lead’s Advisory Board includes:

Glenn Booraem
Principal & Fund Controller
Vanguard Group, Inc.

Rick Crandall
Chairman of the Board
Donnelley Financial Solutions, Inc.

Bonnie Hill
Co-founder, Icon Blue Inc.

Katherine Klein
Edward H. Bowman Professor
Professor of Management
Vice-Dean, Wharton Social Impact Initiative

Ellen Kullman
Former Chair and Chief Executive Officer
E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company

David Mussafer
Managing Partner
Advent International Corporation

Mark Turner
Executive Chairman, WSFS Bank
WSFS Bank — We Stand For Service®

David Yost
Former CEO of AmerisourceBergen

NACD Recertification

NACD Certification Logo

This program qualifies for 9 hours of recertification credits for directors maintaining their NACD Directorship Certification®.

Who Should Attend

Boards That Lead: Corporate Governance that Builds Value is designed for current and prospective directors, corporate secretaries, general counsels of a corporation, institutional investors or executives who work for hedge funds or private equity funds, and securities regulators and equity analysts. It is also beneficial for senior-level executives who want to gain an understanding of how directors move beyond monitoring and help lead a publicly traded company.

Participants leave the program with a richer peer network, enhanced understanding of corporate governance, and proven strategic principles that they can apply to enhance their own boards.

Fluency in English, written and spoken, is required for participation in Wharton Executive Education programs unless otherwise indicated.

Participant Profile

Participants by Industry

Boards that Lead participants by industry

Participants by Job Function

Boards that Lead participants by job function

Participants by Region

Boards that Lead participants by region

Plan your stay in Philadelphia

Plan Your Stay

This program is held at the Steinberg Conference Center located on the University of Pennsylvania campus in Philadelphia. Meals and accommodations are included in the program fees. Learn more about planning your stay at Wharton’s Philadelphia campus.


Michael Useem

Michael Useem, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Academic Director

William and Jacalyn Egan Professor of Management; Professor of Management; Director, Center for Leadership and Change Management; Editor, Wharton Leadership Digest

Research Interests: Catastrophic and enterprise risk management, corporate change and restructuring, leadership, decision making, governance

Dennis Carey

Dennis Carey See Faculty Bio

Vice Chairman, Korn Ferry International

Ram Charan

Ram CharanSee Faculty Bio

World-renowned business advisor, author, and speaker

Emile Feldman

Emilie Feldman, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Michael L. Tarnopol Professor; Professor of Management, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Corporate governance, corporate strategy, diversification, divestitures, firm scope, spinoffs

Harbir Singh

Harbir Singh, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Mack Professor; Professor of Management; Co-Director, Mack Institute for Innovation Management; Wharton School Faculty Director for the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Corporate governance, corporate restructuring, management buyouts, strategies for corporate acquisitions


Wharton’s Boards That Lead program helped me understand more deeply how to navigate the governance issues board leaders are facing today. Wharton’s instructors were top notch, and the people they brought in to speak with us were experienced executives who were able to engage us with tried strategies. As the CEO of a consulting firm, I found the program particularly useful both to my firm and personally. Most of our clients are large public companies, and we help them identify their current and emerging governance issues. The course was useful to me personally as I serve on two boards.

As we worked through the exercises, I came to understand that the issues I struggle with are the same ones that challenge directors who have served on boards for years. To be an effective board member, you really need to vet your conscience and speak up, even if your idea is contrary to the prevailing sentiment within the group. Board members must also be cognizant of conflicts of interest that exist among board members, and also within themselves.

I’ve already applied insights from the program in a recent board meeting I attended, during which we discussed candidates to fill two board positions. We discussed how board members not only must have the right skill sets and areas of expertise; it’s important to understand what kind of board culture you want to cultivate. We came to a pool of prospective candidates who we believed would actively serve and be there for the advancement of the organization rather then merely their own self-interest. Wharton’s program underscored how important it is for board members to have an open and collaborative relationship with each other in order for the board as a whole to be an effective leader."

Kathee Rebernak CEO, Framework LLC, a management consultancy

Wharton’s Boards That Lead takes corporate governance to an entirely new level with a new leadership framework — so we know when to lead, when to partner, and when to just get out of the way. This approach is cutting edge, as was the thought leadership that emerged during our peer-to-peer discussions. An energizing experience — and a ‘must attend’ for all board members."

Mary Kay Scucci, PhD, CPA Managing Director, SIFMA

Boards That Lead provides the essential road map for corporate leadership. With gripping accounts and compelling illustrations, Charan, Carey, and Useem show how directors can lead in strategic partnership with company executives. This is a game changer, required reading for all who seek to bring out the best in their boards."

Alan Mulally CEO and President, Ford Motor Company

This book shows how, through leading, partnering, and delegating, boards are now starting to shape the architecture of the company in unprecedented ways. This book is rich with stories — there is nothing like learning from three world-leading practitioners on advancing board capabilities to get the company to raise its game."

Fred Hassan Managing Director (Health care), Warburg Pincus; Chairman and Director, Bausch + Lomb; Former Chairman and CEO, Schering-Plough; Former Lead Director, Avon Products; Director, Time Warner

Boards That Lead offers an illuminating road map for how a board of directors can effectively engage and motivate its corporate management team to successfully navigate even the most complex of situations. This book should be on the ‘must-read’ list of every corporate board member and senior executive."

Roger W. Ferguson, Jr. President and CEO, TIAA-CREF

This research, complete with compelling anecdotes and practical information, brilliantly explores how creative, flexible, and innovative processes provide the foundation for long-term, sustainable partnerships between the board and the companies they serve. This work captures the true innovation intended to guide the leadership mandate for any board."

Ivan G. Seidenberg Former Chairman and CEO, Verizon Communications; Former Chairman, Business Roundtable

Boards That Lead is chock full of real-world examples that directors can use to improve their leadership and decision making — an impressive one-stop shop outlining board member roles, responsibilities, and actions, including the boundaries that boards and companies often fail to recognize. The checklists for putting this advice into action are comprehensive and practical — the best I have seen."

Maggie Wilderotter Chairman and CEO, Frontier Communications; Director, Procter & Gamble and Xerox Corporation

Date, Location, & Fees

February 1 – 2, 2022Philadelphia, PA$5,700

Download the program schedule, including session details and format.

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Hotel Information

Fees for the on-campus program include accommodations and meals. Prices are subject to change.

Participants must be fully vaccinated and show a negative PCR test to attend on-campus programs. 

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Boards That LeadBoards That Lead by Ram Charan, Dennis Carey, and Michael Useem This book has been called “a must for anyone who sits on a major corporate board — or who wants to understand them.”
Wall Street Journal.
Visit Amazon to purchase the book

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