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Shawn Mathis

Shawn Mathis
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Shawn, what drove you to enrol on the Board Directors' Programme,
and why did you elect to study at Henley?

‘I have served on boards for almost two decades, but whilst the practical experience and books that I studied have formed my understanding of boards, I still felt that I wanted to understand boards more academically. After much searching for a programme, I was delighted to learn of the Henley Board Directors’ Programme; it is unique and exactly what I had been looking for.’

What then were your expectations of the programme, and did it meet them?

‘I knew that the programme was different from that offered anywhere else, but what I hadn't expected was how different the model was. It's not nearly as intense as I'd expected. Instead, it is practical, real, and greatly enhanced by the wonderful diversity of the people it attracts.

‘Andrew Kakabadse doesn't just lead the programme - he immerses you in his personal experience, his insights, and the wisdom of his extraordinary group of practitioners and each of them shared their compelling stories of being on multinational boards with us. But the defining characteristic of this programme is its philosophy: a ‘stewardship for the world’ approach that puts social responsibility at the core of every board decision. And the interaction affirmed that the board is the centre of the organisation and determines its behaviour.

‘It was also extremely helpful that all the sessions were conveyed via Zoom, which allowed me to study at Henley Business School, even while living in the USA.’

What impact did the programme have on you: personally and professionally?

‘It changes one’s mindset. I felt like I was sitting at the feet of great scholars, and I learned so much about how the human condition matters to the board director. The programme promotes the importance of all stakeholders to the decision process of the effective director board; as a result, I've already made several changes in approaching my work as a director.

‘Personally, I am reminded to listen more, and encourage the company’s transformational leadership inspired by the board. I encourage the collective wisdom to find the right way – a more humanitarian way – forward. I've thought much more deeply about how we make decisions and have tried to ensure that the boards I sit on are more diverse. And I've come to realise that if directors are more aware of stakeholder value, the organisation will more likely have an opportunity to succeed.’

So finally, what advice would you offer to anyone considering the Henley Board Directors' Programme?

‘Sign up immediately, unless you want a box-ticking exercise, in which case, this is not for you.

‘However, if you have an open mind, to sit and study with these individuals is a unique experience, and you will not find another programme that provides this important training in the same way.

‘It reinforced my view that boards need to take a holistic view, and it has shown me that the way of the board is the way of the world. I can't recommend it highly enough.’

Find out more about the Board Directors' Programme