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Welcome to the WISE newsletter, a program of
The Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship at Syracuse University

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Notes & Quotes: Patricia Henriques

One of the speakers at the WISE conference in April was Patricia Henriques, who is the retired Chairman and CEO of Management Alternatives, a corporate relocation consulting firm. She spoke on developing a board of directors for your business.

Henriques noted that the role of the CEO is to guarantee the survival of the corporation. The role of the board of directors is to look after the interests of the shareholders, protecting the shareholder assets and working to ensure a reasonable return on the shareholders' investments. The board's role does not change no matter the number of shareholders.

The board of directors can add value to the corporation by:
  • Helping to locate and secure investors
  • Assisting in marketing the corporation
  • Advising on business development
  • Providing strategic thinking
  • Providing subject matter expertise
  • Donating its collective wisdom
  • Helping the CEO think through and make hard decisions
  • Working to leverage resources
Depending on the businesses legal structure, it may be required to have a board of directors. Henriques recommends that a business include an attorney on its board. She also believes in including subject matter experts.

Henriques' board of directors was not composed of people from her geographic region, but of people whom she felt could help her business. She met with them regularly and called them when she needed to. She believes that her business success was helped by her board.

A question was raised about having a board of advisors. Henriques noted that some businesses have both, with the board of advisors being more informal. She encouraged businesses (and not-for-profits) to consult their legal counsel to make sure that the right type of board is used.

One question Patricia Henriques felt the board should address is, "What does the company need to look like in order to continue?" Answering this question -- not once, but continually -- will help the business develop in a way that will allow it to survive and thrive.


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