The Professional Director Certification Program™

Four 2-Day Modules Followed By An Online Exam

Good board governance concepts apply regardless of sector.  This in-person program is designed for the public sector to address and build on best practices throughout the training, while also ensuring directors have the skills, knowledge, attitudes and capabilities to function effectively.  The customization of case studies, pre-reads, full sessions and the inclusion of relevant legislation is what makes our programming valuable and relevant to our public sector clients.

Program objectives include:

  • develop and implement a multi-tiered program that meets the training and development needs of aspiring and experienced directors;
  • improve the confidence and capabilities of directors in their governance practices;
  • ensure a solid understanding of the fiduciary duties of directors;
  • ensure directors are both knowledgeable of and well positioned in an effective and appropriate governance system;
  • provide education in all aspects of governance: behavioural, cultural and structural; and
  • provide participants with a certification program that recognizes them as Professional Directors™ (Pro.Dir™).


Participants will be able to:

  • Articulate the right roles and responsibilities of the board, committees, CEO and executive;
  • Establish a clear sense of purpose, direction and priorities; and.
  • Ensure the accomplishment of strategic objectives.


Participants will learn how to ensure they:

  • Receive accurate, complete and timely information at the board;
  • Oversee programs and projects of the organization; and,
  • Ensure effective oversight of the financial system and all corporate resources.


Participants will learn to:

  • Oversee management and control of resources;
  • Measure the organization’s performance; and,
  • Report – with transparency, clarity and accountability.


Participants will be able to:

  • Ensure board and management function effectively together and make decisions wisely;
  • Conduct business ethically and professionally, with integrity; and,
  • Oversee human resource policy and development effectively.

Board members who attend all modules are eligible to write the certification exam, which is administered by the JSGS. Those who pass receive a non-credit certificate of completion, which provides the designation of Professional Director (Pro.Dir™). Since launching in 2010, the program has graduated 244 Saskatchewan board members. In addition, over 450 board members have participated in advanced programming offered by the partnership.

The Approach

  • Build on well-established, foundational, principle‐based governance practices.
  • Design customized programs that meet the unique needs and regulations of a specific public sector.
  • Promote continuous collaboration with clients and sector experts including practitioners and JSGS faculty in design, development and delivery.
  • Integrate the political character of board governance into each distinctive program.
  • Provide a university level, professional designation of Pro.Dir™ (Professional Director) for graduates of the program.
  • Support continuous learning with advanced education opportunities.

Online – Professional Director Certification Program™

In addition to the in-person Professional Director Certification Program™, the JSGS and BGI partnership offers the only professional director program that is delivered completely online.

The online offering is a comprehensive governance program designed to ensure directors have the skills, knowledge, attitude and capabilities to fully contribute to the pursuit of excellence in corporate governance regardless of sector.  Students work at their own convenience and pace to earn university-level certification as an accredited professional director. And, consistent with our commitment to meeting the needs of our clients and students, even the online program can be customized to meet the specific needs of a given sector.

Other Programming Options

To accomodate the needs of our wide-ranging clients, the JSGS and BGI partnership has also developed a number of advanced, stand-alone sessions dealing with various aspects of governance. These sessions are customized to ensure the discussions are relevant to the sector and experience of the board members.  In doing so, we take full advantage of the skills and expertise of our own faculty members.

These intensive workshops are designed for those who seek a condensed version of the full program, with an overview of concepts and introduction to practical tools.

This workshop introduces participants to new skills and tools to highlight the board's role in community engagement, including discussion about what is community engagement, defining the appropriate audience, public and meida relations and the implications of social media.

This workshop focuses on advanced skills and tools in chairing effective meetings of the board and committees, including board dynamics, relationships, difficult board members, and working with management. Simulations provide opportunities to chair a simulated board meeting using a realistic sector scenario, with constructive feedback from professional and peer observers.

This workshop focuses on advanced skills and tools in financial governance: forecasting, financial analysis, ratios, red flags, financial reporting, accounting choices, funding, liquidity, investment and other key aspects of effective financial governance and stewardship.

This workshop is designed to familiarize CEOs and senior executives with relevant aspects and tools of the core program; especially with regard to expectations that the governance framework places on governors and executives, relative roles and responsibilities of each, and how executives can better prepare information for, engage with, and respond to questions from board members.

This workshop explores the differences between governing in the public vs. the private sector. It focuses on the how the political environment, including public servants, can impact board room decisions in terms of risk, accountability and influence.

The Partnership

The Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy (JSGS) and Brown Governance Inc. (BGI) have established a strategic partnership that specializes in designing and delivering world-class, university-level, professional director education programs for the public sector. Our approach is not only to meet the needs of training directors in technical and structural governance, but to move beyond the basics and address the behavioural and cultural aspects of good board governance. We ensure the particular nuances of a given sector, including those aspects of the public good and public policy that other programs neglect, are a key component of our programs.

Together, BGI and JSGS leverage their strengths to develop and deliver programs that are unique to public sector organizations. Each of the partners brings unique talents and knowledge:
  • BGI has been a leader in corporate governance and director education programs here in Canada and around the world for over 20 years, with specific expertise in the public sector federally, provincially and municipally, in addition to co-founding The Directors College in the private sector.
  • JSGS is a leading public policy school in Canada, a unique inter-university collaboration committed to providing the province of Saskatchewan with a powerful presence in public policy research and education and to projecting the values and experience of Saskatchewan onto the international stage. It is a centre for advanced education in policy and administration, and a source of respected policy advice and commentary. Through this board governance program, JSGS provides experience in various areas of public administration, sector-specific customization and public sector expertise.

Brown Governance

Our Philosophy

  • build on well-established, foundational, principles-based governance practices;
  • design customized programs that meet the unique needs and regulations of a specific sector;
  • integrate the political character of board governance into each distinctive program; and,
  • provide a university-level, professional designation for graduates of the program.

Why We Do It

  • Governance Drives Success: The better an organization is governed, the better its management, accountability, fiscal responsibility, community engagement, customer care and focus, outcomes and accomplishments. 
  • Capacity Building: Our graduates serve not only on the boards of crown corporations, RHAs, colleges, universities and school boards, but they serve on many other boards across the province in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. This contributes to the province’s overall capacity to build and expand on its good governance practices. 
  • Network Benefits: Better governed organizations have strength both vertically – they are managed better – and horizontally – they work well across the system. Together there is a common language about corporate governance principles, concepts, expectations, roles, responsibilities and relationships with each other and to various levels of government.

Contact Us

For more information on the Director Education & Certification Program, please contact: