Author Malcolm Macleod:
Five Things Corporate Boards Get Wrong, And How To Fix Them

Published in Authority Magazine

In a rapidly evolving business landscape, corporate boards play a pivotal role in guiding organizations towards success. Yet, even the most seasoned boards sometimes falter, overlooking critical elements or clinging to outdated practices. From misaligned priorities and lack of diversity to inadequate communication, the repercussions of these missteps can be profound. But there’s always room for improvement. How can we identify these gaps and, more importantly, bridge them?In this interview series, we are talking to seasoned board members, corporate governance experts, business strategists, and any authoritative figure on the subject to uncover the most common pitfalls corporate boards face and derive actionable insights on rectifying them. As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Malcolm Macleod.

Malcolm Macleod is author of The Practice of Philanthropy: A Guide for Foundation Boards and Staff, which was released in November, 2023, and chairman of the Johnson Scholarship Foundation. He was president and CEO of the foundation from 2001 to 2020.”

An interview with Doug Noll:

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I was a practicing lawyer, civil litigation mostly, in Nova Scotia. I had done that for about 25 years and, thanks to a family connection, had an opportunity to join the board of the Johnson Scholarship Foundation. I thought it would just be a nice outside interest. I was a volunteer board member for several years and gradually took on more and more responsibility: I was on the executive, the investment committee and then the grant committee. I was asked to take it over when the president, who was the son of the founder, retired.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

The most interesting thing has been the changes over the past 30 years, particularly around First Nations Reservations and the tribal colleges. There has been a lot of progress, and things have improved. For example, in 1999, we started an MBA program at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA, in American Indian entrepreneurship. Gonzaga developed and delivered the curriculum, and we paid for it and provided scholarships for the students. And that program has continued. There are now 84 American Indian MBAs and Indigenous MBAs in the United States, and I see the positions that they have, the things that they’re doing, and that kind of capacity just did not exist 25 years ago.