Succession Planning and Governance Workshop in Review

There are many reasons why organizations need to be thinking about succession planning. The most important reason is that we rely on the board of directors or governing committee to carry out our missions and meet the organization’s goals.

To have good leadership in the future, you need to recruit and train the right people today.  How do we attract the right people to continue building the strength of our organizations, keep them motivated, and avoid burn out? How to make sure that there is a continuation of leadership to fulfill our mission if a key leader has left?  

On November 9th to November 10th, as a part of the professional development workshop series for presenters in the North and Eastern regions of the province, CCI - Ontario Presenting Network, in collaboration with the Department of Canadian Heritage, hosted Succession Planning and Governance Workshop. Twenty three participants representing a variety of volunteer based and classical music presenters from Eastern Ontario arrived to Showplace Performance Centre in downtown Peterborough to attend the workshop.

The workshop was facilitated by Nathan Garber, the founder and principal consultant of the Nathan Garber & Associates. Nathan Garber has spent more than 40 years helping nonprofit organizations to achieve their goals. Governance issues, board-staff relations, program evaluation, fundraising, community collaboration and organizational structure are Nathan’s special interests.

The workshop provided presenters with an opportunity to reflect on their organization’s internal structure and develop a list of succession-planning strategies and tools.  Participants also had a chance to engage in a discussion over the case studies on how to find the right people and bring them into leadership roles. Presenters left with new ideas for how to ensure that the work of their organization will continue and evolve as new leadership emerges.

The workshop has proven to provide yet another unique opportunity for presenters to network and learn together with their colleagues from the same region.

Aside from the information that was presented, being able to discuss relevant practices, current challenges, and learning how other similar organizations are dealing with issues by being able to talk with people was most helpful and motivating. -  Stan Passfield, Orillia Concert Association

This workshop has opened the door to a whole bunch of information about how to ‘administer’ our volunteer organization and I know will make my life so much easier - so I can focus on the fun stuff! - workshop participant

I can’t thank you enough for taking the time and resources to put together this workshop, it was an invaluable experience for me and a huge learning opportunity. I have already started to share with my board and they are excited about the networking and learning opportunities too! – workshop participant

The piece on recruitment was very helpful. We will be working on that. I personally, as the chair, will be looking at Board development and trying to ensure that we engage in projects and events that engage our Board members, using their strengths. – workshop participant


I endorse the comments made by other workshop participants and I just want to add that the handouts and support material we received will provide invaluable assistance to our organization to move forward in implementing many of the suggestions to update our practices and plan for the future. Welland Port Colborne Association