Phone: 519.853.8082       Fax: 519.853.8935


Professional Director™ Certification Program - Online Program Faculty

The faculty for this online board of directors training program comprises the principals of Governance Solutions Inc., and experienced board directors and academics with a broad range of specialized skills and knowledge in issues directly related to ensuring excellent in governance across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.  

David A. H. Brown

B.Comm(Hons), Pro.Dir., C.Dir.
Executive Director, Governance Solutions Inc.

David Brown is Canada’s leading thinker, speaker, writer and practitioner in corporate governance.  Since 1995, David has co-founded over a dozen board governance education programs including university accredited certification programs for the Health, Colleges and Universities and School Board sectors, the International Corporate Governance Centre, the National Awards in Governance, the Public Enterprise (Crown Corporation) Governance Centre, and the Directors College.  David is probably best known for articulating and championing principle-based governance, built on economic agency theory and deriving 18 core competencies of board members.  Principle-based governance underpins all of his work, and is foundational to corporations selecting the right governance model and board practices.  This framework has been adopted by organizations as diverse as one of the GCC’s leading telecom providers, one of Canada’s big banks, two Canadian provinces’ Crown sectors, universities, health authorities, pension funds and military commands. David augmented his undergraduate business degree from Queen’s in accounting and finance with post-graduate courses at the University of Alberta’s law school.  Having served both as a CEO and a Board member, David is well-positioned to help corporations deal with issues in the boardroom.  David is the author of the definitive Canadian chapter in the international handbook Corporate Governance Around the World (2008: Routledge.)    David was invited to serve on his first board in Montreal at age 17, and his second board in Toronto at age 22.


Dr. Debra Brown

DMin, MDiv, Pro.Dir.
President and CEO, Governance Solutions Inc.

Debra Brown is the founder, President and CEO of Governance Solutions Inc.  Since founding GSI in 1991, Debra has developed it into a full-service firm providing governance consulting, research, training and tools on both a customized (organizational) and public basis (including on-line.)

Under Debra’s leadership, GSI has developed and tested a comprehensive, principles-based governance system that has been adopted and adapted by award-winning, leading governance organizations including The Conference Board and BMO Financial Group (Bank of Montreal) in Canada’s private sector, federal and provincial governments in the public sector, and numerous not-for-profit organizations and associations.  It is also the foundation on which GSI created the program and curriculum for The Directors College, and The Professional Director Certification Program™ and other governance education and university accredited certification programs for the Health, Colleges and Universities, School Board and First Nations sectors. 

Comfortable and confident with both boards and executives, Debra’s mix of experiential and conceptual insights uniquely qualify her to advise organizations on their governance.  She has served twice as a CEO, reporting to boards, and as a board member of several organizations, including as Board Chair and Governance Committee Chair, and so she is able to see governance issues from both sides of the boardroom table.

Debra’s doctoral thesis topic “Using Governance as a Tool to Transform Organizational Culture,” enabled her to develop a proprietary, leading edge diagnostic tool by which boards and executive teams can identify their dominant culture, and work on steps to capitalize on cultural enablers and mitigate cultural challenges.

Currently, Debra serves on major international non-profit corporation boards, and has worked in corporate governance as far afield as Malaysia, Bahrain, Indonesia, Cuba and Guatemala.  She is an acknowledged and sought-after thought leader in corporate governance, authoring over two dozen major research articles published in Canada and internationally, and editing Governance Matters, the Canadian Co-operative Association’s governance periodical.

Prior to forming Governance Solutions, Debra spent several years in the Canadian financial sector, working most recently as CEO.  Debra holds a Doctor in Ministry and a Master of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary where she graduated magma cum laude.


Rob DeRooy

B. Comm, Pro.Dir, C.Dir.
Principal, Governance Solutions Inc.

As a Principal at Governance Solutions, Rob, a skilled presenter and teacher, brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our clients.  His expertise in corporate governance, strategic planning, member and stakeholder engagement, branding, quality (ISO) and change management and oversight is deep at both the board and executive levels.  Having served both as a CEO reporting to the Board, and as a Board member on several boards, Rob has walked in your shoes and is able to see governance and strategic issues from both sides of the boardroom table.   Rob has held a number of executive positions including his appointment as President of Concord Elevator where he successfully engineered a strategic restructuring, reducing overhead while increasing production and profitability.  In 2001 he moved to California and assumed the duties at the international corporate level of Managing Director Concord Elevator UK and Vice President Sales Ricon Group.  Rob has served on the board of the Accessibility Equipment Manufacturers Association where he chaired the membership committee, as well as on both the Brampton and Orangeville Curling Clubs.  As a dedicated fundraiser within his community he has chaired fundraising committees and organized sporting events on numerous occasions, raising tens of thousands of dollars for local charities. Rob earned his Bachelor of Commerce degree at McMaster University, majoring in finance and economics.


Mike Salisbury

Councillor, City of Guelph

Mike Salisbury was re-elected to Guelph City Council representing Ward 4 in 2014, having previously served as Ward 4 Councillor from 2006-2010.

In his previous term on Council, Mike served as a member of the Audit Committee and the Community Development and Environmental Services Committee, and as Chair of the Guelph Transit Sub-committee and the Skate Park relocation committee. He also served as a member of the Grand River Conservation Authority Board and the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre Board of Trustees.

An entrepreneur, Mike is the Principal of Earthartist Planning and Design, which specializes in the design of natural playgrounds and outdoor learning environments. Other ventures include bicycle repair and retail businesses, The Natural Burial Co-operative and Tribute Caskets, for which he appeared on CBC’s The Dragon’s Den.

Mike has been an active volunteer with charities and non-government organizations including Childhope Foundation Canada, Charitable Media Productions, and Feedback Canada (Feed the Children). Most recently Mike was a founding board member for Chance to Play, which distributes soccer uniforms to communities in Africa, Central America, the Asia Pacific Region as well as Canadian communities.

Mike is currently pursuing a Master’s in Planning at the University of Guelph. He holds a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from the University of Guelph and is a fully licenced OALA Landscape Architect.


Joseph Naytowhow

Storyteller, Actor, Performer

Joseph Naytowhow is a gifted Plains/Woodland Cree (nehiyaw) singer/songwriter, storyteller, and voice, stage and film actor from the Sturgeon Lake First Nation Band in Saskatchewan. As a child, Joseph was influenced by his grandfather’s traditional and ceremonial chants as well as the sounds of the fiddle and guitar. Today he is renowned for his unique style of Cree/English storytelling, combined with original contemporary music and traditional First Nations drum and rattle songs. 

An accomplished performer, Joseph is the recipient of the 2006 Canadian Aboriginal Music Award’s Keeper of the Tradition Award and he 2005 Commemorative Medal for the Saskatchewan Centennial. In 2009 Joseph also received a Gemini Award for Best Individual or Ensemble Performance in an Animated Program or Series for his role in the Wapos Bay series. That same year he was also awarded Best Emerging Male Actor at the Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival for his role in Run: Broken Yet Brave and won Best Traditional Male Dancer at John Arcand’s Fiddlefest in Saskatchewan. He has performed for the Prince of Wales, the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan and many other notables. His demanding schedule continues to take him to conferences, symposia, forums, festivals and film sets across Canada, North America and around the world.

Fifteen years of study with a Buddhist master, combined with his Nehiyo/Cree traditional knowledge and his experience as an interdisciplinary artist, has nurtured Joseph’s generosity and compassion for sharing cultural knowledge. He is a much sought after keynote speaker, counsellor, and educator for children and adults alike. Joseph frequently enjoys opportunities to work as a resident artist and cultural advisor for various organizations including the University of Saskatchewan, University of Regina, and Polytechnic Institutes. Joseph holds a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Saskatchewan. 


Wolfgang Vachon

BFA (Drama in Education, Concordia University), M.Ed. (Adult Education OISE/UT)

Coming from a theatre background, Wolfgang has written, directed and performed dozens of productions in North America, Europe and Africa.

Over the past twenty years he has used interactive learning processes as a tool to educate people in numerous contexts including finance, pharmaceuticals, board directors, and social services.

Wolfgang has published over a dozen articles and book chapters on various topics including simulation- based learning and improvisation in the workplace.

He is currently a full-time faculty member at Humber College, in Toronto.