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The Professional Director Certification Program®

The Professional Director Certification Program® is a board of directors training program that develops board governance expertise by ensuring that board directors have the skills, knowledge, attitude, and capabilities to fully contribute to the pursuit of excellence.  


Specific objectives of the Professional Director Certification Program® are as follows:

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


The key benefits for the directors participating in the program are that by its end they will have:

  • The skills and competence required to fulfill their roles as board members;
  • An excellent knowledge of the function of corporate governance and how it operates within their business, sector and organizational structure;
  • A good knowledge of business finance and the tools and know-how to use financial information appropriately at the board level; and
  • A good understanding of their own personal strengths and weaknesses and be able to continually develop themselves to meet their future needs.

Professional Director Certification Program® - Structure

This board of directors training program is comprised of five separate modules available online, plus a comprehensive practicum/exam. This program provides for a mix of adult learning model delivery mechanisms and places a major emphasis on experiential learning.

Modules 1 through 4 are required modules.  After completing these, you will then have access to the practicum exam.  The practicum is a comprehensive case study.  You will interact with the case study and make decisions as a “board member” of a fictitious corporation.  Successfully completing this practicum is your final exam.    

Immediately on passing the exam, you are free to use your new designation, Pro.Dir short for Professional Director.   

For those students who choose to also take Module 5: Governance and the Public Good, you will receive a further designation Pro.Dir.Gov short for Professional Director Government.  This designation will serve you well should you serve on any type of public sector board.

The Approach

This board of directors training program is built on various adult learning models and techniques. These include:

  • Analyzing case studies
  • Making use of a number of highly skilled faculty that include experienced Chairs, CEOs and board members
  • Learning in board room behavior, culture, processes, and dynamics
  • Taking the participant through a series of scenarios and decisions that affect the outcome of a proposed problem
  • Playing the role of a director in a realistic boardroom practicum

MODULE ONE: Governance and Strategy

Learning Objectives

Successful participants of Module One will have the ability to:

  • Articulate the Right Roles and Responsibilities of Board, Committees, CEO and Executive
  • Establish a Clear Sense of Purpose Direction and Priorities
  • Effectively Ensure the Accomplishment of Strategic Objectives
  • Lead from the Top in Promoting Innovation
  • Deal Fairly With Stakeholders, Government, Management and Staff, Community

MODULE TWO: Governance & Risk

Learning Objectives

Successful participants of Module Two will have the ability to:

  • Oversee Management and Control of Resources
  • Measure the Organization’s Performance
  • Ensure Quality, Employee Health and Safety
  • Communicate: Two-Way and Proactively
  • Effectively Report— With Transparency, Clarity and Accountability
  • Lead through Understanding the Art of Culture and Leadership

MODULE THREE: Governance and People

Learning Objectives

Successful participants of Module Three will have the ability to:

  • Ensure Board and Management Function Effectively Together and Make Decisions Wisely
  • Encourage the Best Mix of Board Members
  • Ensure Accountability of The Board, Committees, CEO
  • Change, Improve and Learn From The Past
  • Conduct Business Ethically and Professionally, With Integrity
  • Oversee Human Resource Policy and Development

MODULE FOUR: Governance and Resources

Learning Objectives

Successful participants of Module Four will have the ability to:

  • Receive Accurate, Complete and Timely Information at the Board
  • Effectively Oversee Programs and Projects of the Organization
  • Evaluate and Oversee the Financial System
  • Provide Value-added Oversight of all Corporate Resources

MODULE FIVE: Governance and the Public Good (Optional)

This Module can be taken on its own, or in addition to the full 4 Module Program.

Successful participants of Module Five will have the ability to:

  • Relate the fiduciary duties of the board to the public good of the 7 stakeholders every board has a duty to consider
  • Understand how public policy is motivated and designed and the impact to board oversight
  • Articulate the variety of mechanisms government uses to accomplish its purposes for the public good and therefore the opportunities provided to organizations/corporations for partnerships and collaboration
  • Lever public policy trends in gender equality to create stronger more diverse boards
  • Recognize the impact of international trade agreements for the boardroom
  • Consider the cultural and structural governance impacts of globalization and immigration policy


Learning Objectives

Applying the Corporate Governance Solutions learned in the first 5 modules to a comprehensive case study practicum, participants will test their ability, in the context of a boardroom setting, to:

  • Determine the Optimal Strategy of a Large Scale Corporation
  • Decide on the Risk Governance Profile of a Corporate Strategy
  • Make Significant Decisions that will Affect 1000’s of People
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the CEO and the Board and the roles they play
  • Determine a Board’s Communication Strategy on a Significant Corporate Issue that has Wide-Ranging Consequences
  • Examination and Certification: Making it Official


Throughout the program you will have an opportunity to evaluate your progress by completing online quizzes following each session. Once you have completed the four core modules a comprehensive examination in the form of a practicum will be administered. This exam is taken online and will include material from modules one through 4 of the program. It is required that each participant completes all 4 modules of the program to be eligible to access the practicum, write the final examination and obtain certification.

Certification is viewed as a significant value-added benefit to the program, including a “take-away” benefit for participants who complete and graduate. Certification is viewed by many as a hallmark of a “best practice” director education program today.

Certification for this non-credit program will be provided by Professional Director Inc. a private director education and certification corporation. In order to maintain their certification, directors must complete a minimum of 30 hours of qualifying continuing governance education every three years.

Of course, the consistency and quality of the content and delivery of the Professional Director Education & Certification Program is of the utmost importance to its value and the benefit of the certification, and as such the program’s and exam’s educational and academic quality are overseen by an Oversight Committee that includes a strong academic presence.


Self-study: Each one of the six online modules costs CDN$ 995.00 payable in advance of registration. The self-study modules are paced to suit your individual needs.
A one-time exam fee of CDN$ 395.00 will be charged prior to the final exam for the online program.
Click here to check the modules.

Live Stream Cohort: By joining a Live Stream Cohort you’ll be able to expand your network in a community learning environment – in 4 short months! No travel and no hotels – from the safety and comfort of the chair that best suits you. In addition to content skillfully curated to meet the high expectations of today's boardroom, you also have direct live access to lead faculty – Dr. Debra Brown, David Brown, and Rob DeRooy – as they teach, coach, and mentor you along the way.
CDN$ 9,995.00 for the entire certification program and designation - 90min per live session, for 18 weeks.
Click here and join the Spring Cohort. Starts on March 18th.