Board Changes In The Fundraising Process – podcast&video with guest Catherine Cantey

Board Changes In The Fundraising Process or How to setup a Board for your executive coach business as it grows – I had the privilege of interviewing Catherine Cantey on the topic of Board Changes In The Fundraising Process and she shared, from her own experience and perspective, as executive coach, what are some proven strategies for founders who are at the level of growth in their organisation that requires a Board being appointed:

  • who to appoint on the Board?
  • how to appoint the Board members?
  • how to enrol the Board members (and the other people in the organization) in the vision, mission and values?
  • how to make changes at the Board level (without conflict, finger-pointing, shareholders’ resistance)?
  • the structure of Board meetings and what kind of conversations should take place at this level?

We talked about these topics and more: leadership, growth and exit strategies.

Catherine defined Leadership as being made up of three essential ingredients:

The Three Essential Ingredients for Leadership Excellence

  1. Courage – the courage to continue to show up. I loved Catherine’s take on “I’m on a 15-year path to be an overnight success”. Many founders desire that overnight success, but few recognize the COURAGE it takes to wake up every morning, have your idea, business, and sometimes, ridiculously so, even your results crushed, by investors, competitors, and sadly enough, even business partners and family, and to keep going in spite of all of it.
  2. Discipline – the discipline to go out and have consistent conversations with people. In this section, Catherine recalls on “I don’t need more people who can work with excel, I need more people who can work with their brain (aka “think”). 🙂 in her experience, a true leader goes out and talks to the people within and outside of their organisation to build bridges, relationships, trust, to gain market intelligence, to be human.
  3. Humility – the humility to find one more thing to get better at, instead of being overconfident. The humility of “picking up the pebbles” and relentlessly improving, looking at what worked and didn’t and moving on from what didn’t, into progress.

Turning Vision into Reality with Proven Steps for Founder-Leaders

So, what happens after you’ve created your vision, you are recognized as the founder-leader of your organization? How do you make this vision come alive, how do you fulfil it? Catherine proposes the following steps:

  • be consistent around the “why”
  • share common values with the people in the organization – this requires co-creation
  • tailor your message to the audience – are you leading a town hall with your operational team? talking to Sales? or presenting before the Board?
  • make sure you bring the “silos” together: instead of keeping them separate, your departments or teams should come together as often as possible. In fact, they should be celebrating each other, because Sales without Operations does not happen, and because your organization without Sales also does not happen.

When it comes to appointing the Board members, here are things to consider:

  • the number of seats/mandates
  • the value of the seats
  • the term for which the Board members will be appointed
  • setting milestones
  • using committees, to get more things done, and get the measurable results you desire
  • give them actual Jobs to do, not “roles” to observe
  • annual planning AND
  • self-assessment – we both agreed this key ingredient is what could make or break the performance of your Board! it’s about the Board members defining together what they need to kick off the financial year, but also how they want to close it, being accountable for the company’s success, and having no one else but themselves to point the finger at when it comes to the results. 100%. ALL IN.
  • the structure and content of the Board meetings/conversations: looking constructively at what happened, the impact of what happened, recalling the mission and the values, and what the Board is doing going forward.
  • last but not least, having clear mandate terms in place will make any termination a reason for celebration, rather than awkward departure. In this line of reasoning, Catherine distinguished between “are your board members sponsoring you, or are you sponsoring them?” and she defined a “sponsor” as the person who has your back, when the door is closed.

Strategies for Attracting High-Caliber Directors and Transitioning as a Founder-CEO

If you know you want a reputable professional on the board, that you know is out of your league, both financially, but also as skill-set and experience they bring to the table compared to your current level of business growth, then it is best to approach them ahead of time, build a relationship, trust, pitch yourself/the company and even start co-creating that future you want to be living in together, where they can support you in bringing your company to the 9figure mark.

More often than now, the founder reaches a level of growth in their organisation where it is difficult to draw a line between being the founder and being the CEO, which happens more often than not. We looked at when it is the right time to step down from the executive team, and the company altogether, acknowledging the emotional investment, and we said that:

  • most of the times, if you’ve signed away equity in the company, the stepping down is inevitable, and the best thing to do is to simply let go and accept the change
  • if you’ve built this one and you’ve built it successfully, since you’ve got the funding for your growth plans, then the best strategy is to start thinking already on what’s the next one you can build
  • build a leadership team that will continue to take your company to that next level, fulfil that vision
  • you know you are ready to exit, when your leadership team is ready to lead the company

You can watch the full interview here and if you have any questions or need support in creating and dealing powerfully with your Board, do not hesitate to book a FREE Legal Strategy Session with our Chief Legal Startegist, Av. Olivia Marcu-Iordanescu.

A Proven Coaching Framework for Success with Catherine Cantey

Catherine Cantey is one of 12 Master Certified Stakeholder Centered Executive Coaches in the United States. She combines her 20+ years of corporate experience in big banking with a 40-year proven leadership coaching framework. 

Her clients, CEOs, SVPs, VPs, Directors and General Managers in organizations of $10 million in revenue to a $300 Billion system, have created 100% measured success when implementing correctly the proven framework, that has 40-years of 95% measured success of over 11,000 leaders globally.

By blending the Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching framework with her own proprietary process called Business Vitality®, she has been able to successfully accelerate results for high potential leaders and their teams. 

What her clients reportedly achieve:

  • Strategic thought partnership
  • Commanding executive presence
  • Ownership over decision making
  • Engaging the right conversations at the right time
  • Grow and empower teams creating more time in the day


About my guest: Catherine Cantey

Catherine Cantey, executive coach, Marshall Goldsmith Master Certified Stakeholder Centered Coach

In her 20 years of success in big banking, Catherine managed both Billion-dollar lines of credit for her clients and creating 90% success of the 3,000 proposals she led her team to produce. She used her front row seat seeing businesses come and go to recognize the power of thinking and doing differently as the key to remaining vital over time. For more information, visit her website:

Connect with Catherine:

Catherine Cantey

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