National Directors Institute (NDI)

For more than a decade, Foley’s National Directors Institute (NDI) has been the forum of choice for business leaders looking to explore best practices and the latest trends impacting the corporate finance and governance landscape.

NDI’s year-long series of Web conferences and interactive programs brings enhanced convenience and accessibility to global and national industry leaders looking to share their corporate governance experiences, while our timely newsletters help keep you on target as you navigate the legal risks arising from increasing and evolving governmental regulation and reform across all industries.

Please take a moment to learn more about the components of this year’s NDI, and join other public and private company directors and executives as we examine how you can hone your corporate governance and business strategies to make the most of changing market and regulatory conditions.

Foley's NDI Checkpoint Web Conferences bring together national and global business leaders in a peer-to-peer, interactive forum to explore a variety of topics impacting public and private company executives and directors.

Upcoming web conferences:

Past web conferences:

December 2017: Proxy Season Preview

June 21, 2017: Current Landscape of Reporting Non-GAAP Measures

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For executives and directors, the years since Sarbanes-Oxley have only brought additional scrutiny and external pressures: national and global economic turmoil, Dodd-Frank, ISS and Lewis-Glass, institutional shareholders, activist groups, hedge funds, and the promise of more burdensome regulations. While it’s tempting to focus on the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, the reality is that companies must accept this high-pressure environment as the “new normal” in order to ensure that executives and directors are prepared to react quickly to intensified demands while maintaining a carefully strategic view of the company’s long-term success.

This year’s NDI Executive Exchange will be held on October 25, 2018. During this national forum, prominent corporate governance leaders engaged in candid, interactive peer group discussions about the future of governance. Our Executive Exchange directly connected C-level executives and board directors in an interactive, roundtable setting. They shared the issues that matter most to their business and exchanged real-world governance strategies for adapting to the new normal.

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Foley recognized two outstanding board of directors during the NDI Executive Exchange Dinner held on November 6, 2017. The winners were: Public Company BOY – Sentio Healthcare Properties, Inc. and Non-Profit BOY – Catholic Financial Life.

Foley would like to thank our 2017 NDI sponsors. The support we receive from them is crucial to the development and continued success of NDI.

Lead Sponsors


Linklaters is a leading global law firm, supporting clients in achieving their strategies wherever they do business. We use our experience and resources to help clients pursue opportunities and manage risk across emerging and developed markets around the world. 

We build lasting relationships to support clients as they adjust to changes in their markets and the regulatory landscape. Discipline, teamwork and agility enable us to help clients navigate important business challenges successfully.

Our focus is on consistently delivering integrated, global solutions, built on our strong local capability. We take a team-driven, collaborative approach to all that we do for our clients.



Alpha IR Group is a holistic investor relations consulting firm that provides strategic counsel and informs the decision-making of America’s leading public companies. Alpha IR offers a variety of investor relations services, including full-service retainer programs, investor day preparation, general earnings and messaging support, targeting analyses, activist preparedness programs, perception studies and ad-hoc capital markets research. The firm’s senior leadership team has over 100 years of combined experience in capital markets and financial communications, with offices in Chicago, New York and Boston. Today, Alpha’s growing, 17-person staff supports a client base that spans seven industry verticals and represents nearly $100 billion of equity value trading on public exchanges in North America. Our partnership programs, research capabilities and project services are designed to protect and enhance our clients’ reputations, credibility, and ultimately, their valuation.


Grant Thornton is one of the world’s leading organizations of independent audit, tax and advisory firms. Our advisory practice creates holistic solutions delivered by innovative, curious professionals who bring technical depth and industry insight to our clients. We are progressive thinkers who create, protect, and transform value today, so our clients have the opportunity to thrive tomorrow. With more than 40,000 Grant Thornton people in more than 130 countries, we are focused on making a difference to our clients, colleagues, and the communities in which we live and work. 

"Grant Thornton" refers to Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd (GTIL), and/or refers to the brand under which the independent network of GTIL member firms provide services to their clients, as the context requires. GTIL and each of its member firms are not a worldwide partnership are not liable for one another's acts or omissions. In the United States, visit grantthornton.com for details.



D.F. King is a globally-recognized leader in proxy solicitation, financial communications and corporate governance consulting. With unparalleled experience in merger votes, proxy contests and tender/exchange offers for corporate control, the firm has advised corporations, shareholder groups, investment bankers and securities attorneys since 1942. Internationally and domestically, from cross-border acquisitions to bankruptcy reorganizations, D.F. King has played a role in many of the highest-profile corporate transformations of the past 70 years.

JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a professional services and investment management firm offering specialized real estate services to clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying and investing in real estate. A Fortune 500 company with annual fee revenue of $5.2 billion and gross revenue of $6.0 billion, JLL has more than 280 corporate offices, operates in more than 80 countries and has a global workforce of more than 60,000. On behalf of its clients, the firm provides management and real estate outsourcing services for a property portfolio of 4.0 billion square feet, or 372 million square meters, and completed $138 billion in sales, acquisitions and finance transactions in 2015. Its investment management business, LaSalle Investment Management, has $58.3 billion of real estate assets under management. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit www.jll.com.

Co-Sponsors



Aon plc (NYSE:AON) is a leading global provider of risk management, insurance brokerage and reinsurance brokerage, and human resources solutions and outsourcing services. Through its more than 72,000 colleagues worldwide, Aon unites to empower results for clients in over 120 countries via innovative risk and people solutions. For further information on our capabilities and to learn how we empower results for clients, please visit: http://aon.mediaroom.com

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Beal Associates is a leading Board of Director search firm dedicated to recruiting and delivering the highest-caliber Board and C-Suite professionals. We have recruited Directors to corporate boards for organizations from $50 million to over $5 billion across a wide variety of industries. 

The Beal Associates team uses a proven systematic approach to attract senior-level talent and recruit experienced Board candidates. We utilize Board composition assessments, innovative candidate sourcing, comprehensive research and screening processes to identify the right Board candidates. Our core values coupled with our active involvement in local and national executive organizations, contribute to Beal Associates’ vast network and stellar industry reputation. 

With Beal Associates’ specialized approach and expertise, we’ll help you navigate through the selection process for the right Board member, supporting your organization through growth and transition. We understand the increasing complexity and specialization of Boards. The corporations we represent demand candidates from a comprehensive range of disciplines and industries, both domestic and international. 

We are a strategic partner to our clients, providing outstanding service and bottom line results. 

Please contact maureen@bealassociates.net for more information.

In-Kind Sponsors

DIVERSITY in BOARDROOMS is a board consulting firm that assists Corporate and Advisory Boards to better represent American strengths through their board composition. Cindy Burrell is the Founder and President. We believe that when corporate boards include diverse perspectives, better decisions and solutions evolve. We create boards to foster a corporate governance ethic where Directors recommend goals and objectives that are aligned to benefit all stakeholders: employees, investors, and the community. We promote the addition of both women and minorities who offer the qualifications and expertise needed. Visit diversityinboardrooms.com for more information.

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INFORUM is the only professional organization in Michigan — and one of a few in the country — that combines strategic connections, proven professional development programs, a respected forum for new ideas, and original research to accelerate careers for women and boost talent initiatives for companies. 

Inforum BoardAccessTM builds a pipeline of qualified women to serve on public and private corporate boards of directors. Inforum BoardAccessTM programs provide tools and support for Michigan women to become credible candidates for corporate board service today and in the future. Inforum BoardAccessTM offers exclusive networking opportunities to gain visibility and the connections critical for board placement. The initiative is designed to help enhance corporate decision-making processes and board diversity.

Women in the Boardroom is an organization committed to translating the intellect, skills and expertise of their members into inaugural or additional powerful corporate director roles. Click here for more information.

2016 – NDI Executive Exchange

More than 200 directors and officers from more than 150 public and private entities attended Foley’s 2016 NDI Executive Exchange in Chicago on November 10th. Pat McGurn of ISS was the keynote speaker at lunch and presented on Key Governance Trends for 2016 and 2017. There were also 23 interactive breakout sessions on key governance issues affecting today's boardrooms and the C-suite. 

During dinner on November 9th, we recognized the following companies with Board of the Year Awards:

  • Sysco Corporation – our Large Cap Public Company BOY
  • Quad Graphics – our Small Cap Public Company BOY
  • Paper Machinery Corporation – our Private Company BOY
  • Alliant Credit Union – our Non-Profit BOY

Visit the 2016 Executive Exchange event page for detailed information about the roundtables and to download presentation materials and key takeaways.

2015 – NDI Executive Exchange 

Foley 2015 NDI Executive Exchange was held in Chicago on November 4. More than 250 directors and officers from more than 130 public and private companies attended the interactive roundtable discussion. Pat McGurn of ISS provided the group with Key Governance Trends for 2015 and 2016, and there were 17 breakout sessions on key governance issues affecting today's boardrooms and the C-suite. 

The 2015 NDI Executive Exchange also hosted the third annual Director of the Year Awards on November 3, 2015, naming Alvin “Pete” Carpenter of Regency Centers Corporation, the 2015 Public Company Director of the Year and Patricia Diaz Dennis, of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, the 2015 Private Company Director of the Year. 

Visit the 2015 Executive Exchange event page for detailed information about the roundtables and to download presentation materials and key takeaways.

2014 – Executive Exchange – Accountability and Transparency – Are Your Corporate Governance Practices Putting You at Risk? 
Foley's most recent NDI Executive Exchange was held in Chicago on November 6, 2015. The in-person, invitation-only program connected public and private company C-level executives and board directors of in a roundtable setting to discuss various corporate governance and boardroom topics. Patrick McGurn, Executive Director at Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), was the featured speaker on Key Governance Trends in 2014 and 2015.

The 2014 NDI Executive Exchange also hosted the second Director of the Year Awards on November 5, 2014, naming Kenneth Jastrow, lead director of MGIC Corporation, as the Public Company Director of the Year and Walter Winding, owner and president of Winding & Company, as the Private Company Director of the Year.

Visit the 2014 Executive Exchange event page for detailed information about the roundtables and to download presentation materials and key takeaways.

2013 – Executive Exchange – The New Normal: An Interactive Exchange About the Future of Governance
At Foley's most recent NDI Executive Exchange, prominent corporate governance leaders continued the in-depth, interactive peer group discussion that began with our first Executive Exchange in 2011.

Held in Chicago on November 13, 2013, the in-person, invitation-only program connected C-level executives and board directors of public companies in a roundtable setting to discuss such topics as Executive Compensation Hot Topics, Board Composition Challenges and Solutions and International and Emerging Market Issues in the Boardroom. Nell Minow, co-owner and director of GMI Ratings, Inc., was the featured speaker on Key Governance Trends for 2013.

The 2013 NDI Executive Exchange also hosted the first Director of the Year Awards, naming Richard Donnelly of Oshkosh Corporation as the Public Company Director of the Year and Marie Meisenback Graul as the Private Company Directory of the Year. 
Visit the 2013 Executive Exchange event page for detailed information about the roundtables and to download presentation materials and key takeaways. 

2012 — Executive Exchange: What's on Your Mind 
At Foley’s second annual Executive Exchange on November 14, 2012, the in-person, invitation-only program connected C-level executives and board directors of public companies in a roundtable setting to discuss such topics as Evaluating Acquisitions in the Boardroom, FCPA and International Issues in the Boardroom, Institutional Shareholder and Investor Relations Best Practices, and Protecting Your Directors From Liability.

Visit the 2012 Executive Exchange event page for detailed information about the roundtables and to download presentation materials and key takeaways.

2011 — Executive Exchange
Foley's inaugural NDI Executive Exchange took place in January 2011 and brought together prominent corporate governance leaders to participate in in-depth, interactive peer group exchanges. Addressing a number of topics — including Audit Committee Developments, Boardroom Risk Assessments, Compensation Committee Hotbuttons, M&A in the Boardroom, and SEC Enforcement Activities — the NDI Executive Exchange roundtables directly connected C-level executives and board directors of public companies, fostering candid dialogue about real-world solutions for effective governance. Keynote speaker Keith Wandell, President and CEO of Harley-Davidson, Inc. also was a highlight of the program.

Visit the Executive Exchange event page for detailed information about the roundtables and to download presentation materials and key takeaways.

2010 — Moving Your Business Forward: Are You Taking the Right Steps? 
As government and industry leaders looked to guide the country toward economic stability and recovery, Foley's National Directors Institute Web Conference Series, Moving Your Business Forward: Are You Taking the Right Steps?, explored how boards of directors and executives could adapt their corporate governance and business strategies to make the most of changing market conditions.

2009 — Economic Crisis: Dealing With the Domino Effect 
In the spring of 2009, Foley launched a new Web conference format for its National Directors Institute, bringing improved convenience and accessibility to the program. The National Directors Institute 2009 Web Conference Series, Economic Crisis: Dealing With the Domino Effect, comprised 11 Web conferences exploring how boards of directors and executives could navigate their companies through the far-reaching domino effects of the U.S. economic crisis. From risky mortgage lending practices to the resultant credit crunch and financial institution failures, the convergent factors leading up to the economic and financial fallout of 2008 impacted all facets of the U.S. economy. The series addressed a variety of complex and challenging issues associated with corporate governance in a recessed economy.

2008 — Culture of Transparency 
Foley's seventh annual National Directors Institute, the nation's leading forum for public and private company executives and directors, took place on March 6, 2008. More then 400 directors, CEOs, CFOs, general counsel, and boardroom advisors attended the program. The day-long seminar included 20 insightful breakout and roundtable sessions that allowed national and global business leaders to discuss clear strategies for developing a business culture that supports accountability and transparency.

Featured keynote speaker Paul Sarbanes, former U.S. Senator and co-author of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act addressed the state of corporate governance in America. Special guest Bill Scherr-Chairman of the Board for World Sports Chicago, and board member of Chicago 2016, discussed the significant efforts and elaborate plans of Chicago 2016, to bring the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games to the City of Chicago.

Joining Foley as program sponsors were UBS, Aon, Korn/Ferry International, Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, RR Donnelley, D.F. King, Eversheds LLP, Ashton Partners, Boardroom Bound, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, NASDAQ, NYSE, and Springboard Enterprises.

Visit the 2008 NDI event page for detailed information about sessions and speakers, to download presentation materials and session white papers, or to experience recordings of the breakout sessions.

2007 — Corporate Governance: One Size Does Not Fit All 
Foley's sixth annual National Directors Institute (NDI) was recognized as the educational forum of choice for business leaders looking to learn about hot topics and trends affecting boardrooms across America. More than 550 directors, CEOs, CFOs, general counsel, and boardroom advisors attended the program, held March 8, 2007 in Chicago. The program featured 150 tier-one speakers and panelists in more than 35 insightful breakout sessions to help attendees identify corporate governance best practices, and then tailor them to ensure the best possible fit for their companies.

As keynote speaker for the 2007 program, former U.S. Congressman Michael Oxley — past chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services and co-author of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act — addressed the state of corporate governance in America. Among other things, Congressman Oxley discussed the unnecessary need — now that proper safeguards are in place — to pass legislation giving stockholders the right to pass judgment on executive pay decisions of the boards of public companies.

Joining Foley as program sponsors were UBS, Aon, Korn/Ferry International, Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, RR Donnelley, D.F. King, Ashton Partners, Boardroom Bound, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, NASDAQ, NYSE, and Springboard Enterprises.

Visit the 2007 NDI event page for detailed information about sessions and speakers, to download presentation materials and session white papers, or to experience audio and video clips of the breakout sessions.

2006 — National Directors Institute 
The 2006 NDI program — which addressed the dramatic swings in corporate governance reform that reverberated throughout corporate America during the past five years — was attended by more than 400 business professionals, including board members, CEOs, CFOs, senior counsel, and other corporate executives and boardroom advisors; this marked a 31-percent increase in attendance from 2005.

Foley and our eight co-sponsors — UBS, Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, RR Donnelley, NASDAQ, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Boardroom Bound, NYSE, and The Directors' Council — welcomed 125 speakers and panelists to our program, which featured 30 unique panel, break-out, and roundtable sessions.

The 2006 NDI keynote speaker was William H. Donaldson, former chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The Networking Reception keynote speaker was Craig Donahue, CEO, Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

2005 — Corporate Governance Reform: What's Next 
Foley's 2005 NDI program brought together CEOs, CFOs, general counsel, chairmen, directors, industry experts, and representatives from NYSE, NASDAQ, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), and National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) from across the country. The ISS-certified program focused on the theme of “Corporate Governance Reform: What's Next?” and featured keynote speaker Jack Bogle, founder and former CEO of The Vanguard Group, Inc.

Along with our sponsors — Deloitte & Touche, Morgan Stanley, RR Donnelley, NASDAQ, NYSE — we brought together thought leaders to provide insight and intellect on the perennial question of the impact of corporate governance reform.

Another component of the 2005 NDI program was our chairman's breakfast in New York with keynote speaker, former SEC Chairman Harvey L. Pitt. Discussing “The Changing Role of the Chairman of the Board,” Chairman Pitt and the distinguished panel of CEOs and chairmen offered varying perspectives on how the boardroom dynamics have changed and how to respond proactively to the changes.

2004 — Corporate Governance Reform: What's Working and What Isn't? 
2003 — Has Corporate Governance Gone Too Far? 
2002 — Boardroom Governance in a Post-Enron World