Phone: 519.853.8082       Fax: 519.853.8935


Professional Director Rural Leadership Program

"Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other!"

John F. Kennedy

“Learning is not a one-time event or a periodic luxury. Great leaders in great companies recognize that the ability to constantly learn, innovate, and improve is vital to their success.” 

Amy Edmondson

Consider the facts ….

  • 100% of the top 100 companies in Canada expect board members to take continuing education. This includes education in corporate governance!
  • The average board member spends over 20 hours each year taking formal director education!
  • People who hold a governance designation are 50% more likely to get a board seat than those who don’t!

So, what’s the ultimate benefit to you of governance and leadership training?   

It’s good for your health, your wallet and your social life!

  • It’s good for your health! Studies show that learning reduces stress – reading for even short periods of time can dramatically reduce your stress levels! And, there is a well-studied relationship between longevity and education!
  • It’s good for your wallet! The links between formal education and lifelong learning are well-researched and substantial.
  • Who doesn’t want a better social life? Those who dedicate themselves to learning and who exhibit curiosity are almost always happier and more engaged socially and professionally.

What MUST leaders know about governance?

  1. They must know the WHY - why do boards exist, why does their organization exist, and why are they a part of it?
  2. They must know the WHAT – what is their role and what they are responsible for?
  3. They must know the HOW - how do boards and executives do their job?

We’ve invested 30 years developing programs, tools, and resources to help leaders just like you to get clarity around those 3 questions:

  1. Why am I here?
  2. What is my role?
  3. How do I do it?

When leaders get clear on why boards exist, what their role is in relation to the board, and how they should govern, they become more competent and confident in the boardroom. The complexities of governance become much clearer and simpler.

The Professional Director Education and Certification Program for Rural Leadership

This program has been designed specifically for rural leaders. It takes the essentials of what all board members and executives must know about governance – the 80% of governance that is common to any organization and any sector - and then adds to it specific information for the rural leader.

In level one we cover the essentials of governance – those things anyone serving on a board should know.  What are the qualities of a great board member and leader, what is the role of a director, why do boards exist and how do we fulfill our roles and responsibilities? We look at the 5 different types of boards, how to hold effective meetings, and how to forge strong, effective boardroom relationships.  And that’s just level one!

Register for Level One Here

Level two moves on to director conduct, vision casting, strategic planning, rules of order, director independence, and term limits.

Register for Level Two Here

Level three is about going deeper into understanding your role and what it takes to lead. We look at the role of the chair, board committees and committee structure, and creating strong governance protocols to guide you.

Register for Level Three Here

Level four is all about boardroom culture and behaviour. We give you a framework for understanding boardroom culture, address how to deal with disruptive behaviour and directors, and how to ask great questions. Its in this level we also discuss director liability and how integrity plays out in the boardroom.

Register for Level Four Here (coming soon!)

In level five, it all about the money! From financial oversight, to external and internal audit, to key performance indicators and ratios, we cover the core roles of directors in the financial aspects of the organization.

Register for Level Five Here (coming soon!) 

Level six is about focusing the right people on the right things. Board orientation, board renewal and succession, communications and disclosure and in-camera sessions are all explored here.

Register for Level Six Here (coming soon!)

In level seven, strategy and risk take centre stage. What is the role of the board in organizational risk – and what is it not? What is SWOT and how do we use that at the board level?  And how is risk oversight linked with organizational strategy?  You will find out in level seven.

Register for Level Seven Here (coming soon!)

Lastly, level eight deals with the relationship of the board with the CEO. By this we mean the senior most person in the organization – sometimes called the General Manager or the Executive Director. We discuss succession, evaluation, and delegation.

Register for Level Eight Here (coming soon!)

Begin by watching the videos and completing your reading assignments.  There are quizzes throughout each of the 8 levels.  Questions included in the quizzes are based on both the video presentations and the reading materials.  You will move forward through the levels by successfully achieving a minimum of 70% on each quiz. 

After finishing all 8 levels you complete a final exam to earn your designation – Pro.Dir.RL.  All quizzes and the exam are open book and are comprised of multiple-choice questions.

The program is completely at your own pace in your own time. You can always reach out to us if you have questions or need clarification. 

Register NOW 




“Canada’s youth play a critical role in the continued growth and prosperity of the agriculture sector,” said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister. “Our Government is proud to support projects such as this certificate program that provide young farmers with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed as effective leaders.” 


“Our government is committed to removing barriers for our agri-food sector so it can grow and be more competitive in the global marketplace,” said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, we’re pleased to support industry efforts like this, which are developing the agriculture sector leaders of today and tomorrow.” 

This program has been created in collaboration with Governance Solutions Inc., and Junior Farmers Association of Ontario


Cancellation Policy

If you find it necessary to cancel your registration for a particular module in the director training program or for the practicum/exam, we will issue a full refund minus a $150 administration fee for cancellations received in writing at least 30 business days from your initial registration.  The registration fee is non-refundable for cancellations made more than 30 business days following such registration.