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Tag: transit board leadership

L A County’s Access Services’ Strategic Governing Team Explores Enriching Board Composition

September 27, 2019 0 Comments

Last week, I was privileged to facilitate a daylong “High-Impact Governing  Work Session” involving the Board of Directors, chaired by Dolores Nason, the Executive Director, Andre Colaiace, and the Executive Team of Access Services, which provides paratransit services in Los Angeles County.  One of the major topics we addressed during our day together was developing the Board’s self-management capacity.  The board self-management function, as most of our readers no doubt know, consists of two key elements:  developing the people on your board; and managing your board’s governing performance.  One of the six breakout groups we employed over the course of Read the rest

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Getting Your New Board Committees Off on the Right Foot

August 23, 2019 0 Comments

Whether newly created board standing committees find their sea legs early in their existence and are soon firmly established depends heavily on two factors: the board chair’s appointment of the right board members to chair the new committees; and the CEO’s designation of an executive team member to serve as Chief Staff Liaison to each committee.

Once the new committees have effectively functioned for a year, the appointment of committee chairs is a more routine matter, but choosing the right first chairs for the new committees will be critical to their success as your board’s “governing engines.” Experience has taught … Read the rest

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David Stackrow: Transit Volunteer Extraordinaire

July 3, 2019 0 Comments

By virtue of his or her highly visible and influential position as “CEO” of the board, a chair can . . .play a leading role in educating board colleagues on advances in the field of transit governance and building their appetite for board capacity building;  champion the cause of board development, cooperating with the CEO in leading the process of updating the board’s governing role, structure, and processes; help to facilitate board-CEO interaction, fostering mutual understanding; and support the CEO’s executive leadership initiatives both internally and in the wider community.

This excerpt from Chapter Three of my and David Stackrow’s … Read the rest

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Board Chair Trudy Bartley and President/CEO Joanna Pinkerton on Breaking the Traditional CEO Mold at COTA

June 27, 2019 0 Comments

This article and the accompanying podcast featuring Trudy Bartley, Chair of the COTA Board of Trustees, and Joanna Pinkerton, COTA President/CEO, was originally published in 2018.  Since CEO leadership and structuring the CEO function are really hot topics among public transit leaders and this post and podcast have attracted tremendous attention, it seemed appropriate to bring them to the attention of our readers a year later.  Doug Eadie

Traditionally, at the top of the list of qualifications public transit boards specify when recruiting candidates for the CEO position is in-depth operational experience.  So it’s no surprise that over the years … Read the rest

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Successfully Reining in Rogue Board Members

June 10, 2019 0 Comments

“What can we do about rogue board members?”  I’ve heard this question countless times over the years in governance workshops I’ve presented at APTA meetings, most recently the CEOs Seminar in Chicago a couple of months ago.  Rogues, as you know, are trouble makers who march to their own governing tune at their own tempo, with little concern about the impact on their board colleagues.  Their behavior can erode a board’s governing performance and poison a board’s culture, while in the process occasionally even tarnishing a transit authority’s  image in the community.  I always preface my response to this predictable … Read the rest

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Don’t Let Silo Committees Trap You and Your Board Members

May 17, 2019 0 Comments

I spent a couple of hours with Board and Executive Team members of the Chatham Area Transit Authority (CAT, headquartered in Savannah, Georgia) in a special work session earlier this week.  We were reviewing the functional descriptions of four new Board standing committees being recommended by the Board’s “High-Impact Governing Steering Committee,” following up on a daylong retreat in February:  Strategic and Operational Planning; Performance Monitoring/Audit; External/Stakeholder Relations; and Governance.

At the February retreat we’d discussed the benefits of well-designed committees, including:

  • Dividing the highly complex and demanding work of governing into “chewable chunks,” making more in-depth deliberations possible and
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Board Evaluation of CEO Performance Can Be a Powerful Relationship Builder

April 24, 2019 0 Comments

Dave Stackrow and I weren’t able to cover the segment on board evaluation of CEO performance because we chose to leave more time for the CEO panel following our presentation at APTA’s CEOs Seminar on April 14.  Since it’s such a critical subject, which we address in our new book, Building a Solid Board-CEO Partnership:  A Practical Guidebook for Transit Board Members, CEOs, and CEO-Aspirants (https://boardsavvytransitceo.com/building-a-solid-board-ceo-partnership/), we decided to share some of the key points that we make in the book in this post.

Experience has taught us that a well-designed process for board evaluation of CEO performance … Read the rest

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Comet CEO John Andoh Wearing the Innovator-in-Chief Hat

April 1, 2019 0 Comments

Experience has taught me that successfully implementing significant out of the box change initiatives depends on the strong leadership of a chief executive officer wearing what I call the “Innovator-in-Chief” hat. CEOs I’ve observed over the years succeed at the Innovator-in-Chief role have without exception been what I think of as “change-savvy.” This means that:

They’ve been technically very knowledgeable about best practices in the rapidly changing area of change planning and management, which means they haven’t been wedded to conventional planning wisdom and out-of-date approaches. You’ll never hear a change-savvy CEO extolling the virtues of traditional long-range (or “strategic”) … Read the rest

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The Prohibitive Cost of a Weak Board-CEO Partnership

February 7, 2019 0 Comments

Dave Stackrow and I are pleased to tell you that our forthcoming book, Building a Solid Board-CEO Partnership:  A Practical Guidebook for Transit Board Members, CEOs, and CEO-Aspirants, has gone to press.  It should hit the streets in late March 2019.  The following fifth and final excerpt from our book talks about the high cost a transit authority will pay for letting the partnership between its board and CEO remain weak or deteriorate.

Your transit authority can expect to pay a high price for failing to develop a close, positive board-CEO partnership or for allowing it to deteriorate.  For … Read the rest

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Emerging New CEO Governing Model

January 7, 2019 0 Comments


The following article is excerpted from Doug Eadie and Dave Stackrow’s forthcoming book, Becoming Your Board’s Chief Governing Partner:  a Practical Guidebook for Transit CEOs and CEO-aspirants.

In our travels around the country these days, we see an increasing number of new-style public and nonprofit sector chief executives, including many in the transit industry, who you won’t find astride the fire wall vigilantly guarding against incursions by micro-managing board members.  This emerging new model of CEO leadership in the governing arena, which has no doubt emerged in reaction to the bankruptcy of the traditional view, sees the chief executive … Read the rest

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