The Private Directors Association recognizes the importance of Private Company Boards of Directors and Advisors.  Below are Testimonials to this from executives currently serving in Board positions.  These individuals are from a variety of different companies / organization that include private companies, employee owned businesses (ESOP), start-ups, and private equity companies.

Private Companies

Cathy_Carroll_11Cathy Carroll
Founder & President
Legacy Onward

PDA membership has enhanced the professionalism of our board.  With access to governance best practices, we significantly improved our decision making and board effectiveness.  Membership also helped me prepare for board interviews, and as a result, I was recently invited to join the board of a large family business on the east coast.


101916_PDA_Program_Speaker_ChookaszianDennis Chookaszian
Experienced Corporate Director

Former CEO & Chairman, CNA Insurance

Adjunct Professor of Strategic Management, Chicago Booth

While independent directors are required for public companies, they are equally important for private companies because they bring an important outside perspective that is a critical requirement for establishment of a strong corporate governance function. The independent director is particularly important in the development of corporate strategy, the understanding and establishment of an effective risk management program, and the implementation of an ethical environment with strong controls.


102815_PDA_Program_Speaker_Photo_Sheth_2Rajan Sheth

Mead & Hunt

Independent directors help us deal with the issues that the internal directors are reluctant to bring up. Since they are not involved in day to day operations, they take a long view and help us stay focused on the strategic issues.


111715_PDA_Program_Speaker_Photo_Pinsky_11Milton Pinsky
Chief Executive Officer

Banner Apartments, LLC

Adopting a true outside board of directors has helped with the hiring and retention of non-family members. The Board has taken the family dynamic out of compensating family members and/or considering them for hiring or promotion.  It also has helped us develop a more resilient succession plan.  Having a true board, with a majority of independent directors, has enabled us to attract remarkably strong independent directors, who have become increasingly knowledgeable about our business.  Over time this has enabled them to provide us with great advice and to hold me, the CEO, and other executives, accountable, all of which has greatly improved our performance.

Executive Search Firms

OlsekaStephanie Olexa, PhD, MBA

Lead to the Future

At Lead to the Future, LLC we work with privately held and family owned businesses in the areas of sustainability, succession planning and governance.  Our governance work focuses on building and refreshing fiduciary and advisory boards.  In the past two years we have filled over 20 fiduciary board positions with our clients.  The Private Directors Association has been a valued source for qualified and enthusiastic candidates.  We appreciate the ability to link to this pool of top notch candidates. 

 Tech & Early Stage Companies

Alexander_Headshot_1Tom Alexander


For startup founders and leadership, perspective is critical. Independent boards provide crucial insight and value to startups and play an important role in fostering success of these companies.


093015_PDA_Program_Speaker_Photo_Asphahani_1Dr. Aziz Asphahani

QuesTek Innovations LLC

As a High-Tech start-up company, the Independent Directors were essential in terms of providing impartial assessment of the business model and the financial status of the company. Also, they provided additional perspectives of business opportunities and potential risks.


Donovan_MorrisonDonovan Morrison

Luna Lights, Inc.

It is critical for every startup to have independent directors on their board to help fill in knowledge gaps that exist on the team. No one knows everything, so having an outside perspective from a field that is not represented in the backgrounds of the founding team is necessary.


SmithDavid Smith

Gallagher Fluid Seals

The decision to stand up a Board of Directors, with independent embers, allows the private company to select unique, specific and necessary experience and skill sets that can significantly augment the leadership and management teams of a private company.  The various points in the life cycle of a company, be it M&A, grassroots growth, succession planning or harnessing specific technologies for commercialization may dictate that various types of Independent Directors be selected for their ability to bring what specific experience that might be needed.  The PRIVATE DIRECTORS ASSOCIATION has been instrumental in helping so directed companies to find those unique and talented individuals to join boards in their time of director selection.


Michel_Feldman_Headshot_1Michel J. Feldman
Senior Partner
Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Board Member and Advisory Board Member.

Several Public and Private Boards

Many family owned businesses have a founder who may have worked elsewhere, but his children may have only worked for the father’s business. Their worldly knowledge is limited, and an independent board member can bring a lot of outside knowledge and thinking to the board room. The board member may have many ideas for the company on how to grow the family business either internally or by acquisition, and the pitfalls to avoid.  The board member may also have good ideas how to bring down the cost of operations, which is something that the family members do not have a lot of experience in doing.


Dennis_Kessler1Dennis Kessler
Founder and President
Midwest Family Business Advisors

Independent Board Director

Independent Directors on Private Company Boards bring value to a board by sharing their knowledge about succession planning for the business and the family as well as their experience in strategic planning gained from other industries and other businesses in which they have worked.


JB_Headshot_-_April_17_-__BCS_3495Julia Bristow Briggs

Smart to the Top

In the spring of 2018, I finished my Board Director Development and Referral coaching with Claudia Wyatt-Johnson, and wow is she fabulous. Her advice as my coach through this process was practical, candid and done so gracefully too! I was so impressed by her support and willingness to work with me on top of her demanding work schedule. This service is such an excellent benefit for the Private Directors Association members.


CharlieCharlie Leichtweis 
Process Solutions, Inc.

Experienced Board Member

I was introduced to the Private Directors Association (PDA) approximately 4 years ago. 

Their mission to provide contacts for and education on the value of a Board of Directors to privately held businesses is one that I have personally witnessed. In addition to seeing privately held companies benefit from the informative program and education committees provided by the PDA, I have personally benefited from the relationships I have been able to make as a member of PDA. Those relationships have helped shape my professional experience, provided rewarding  personal contacts, and enhanced my ability to be aware of Board opportunities that fit my background. A result of my experiences with PDA has been Board service. I currently serve on two Boards. One of those Board positions is for a well known consumer products company Precious Moments and the other is the largest manufacturer of building products in its category in North America Metrie, Inc. 

I would strongly recommend involvement in PDA on a number of levels.