Developed specifically for board members of cooperatives in agriculture and rural America, our Advanced Governance Series (AGS) merges timely, content-rich courses and dynamic peer interaction. 

The integrated curriculum focuses on the complexities of governance for directors today and their need to develop appropriate leadership and business acumen relevant to the business of the cooperative. Boards that participate in AGS gain a proven path to more effective board performance and their directors develop greater confidence through acquiring the knowledge, skills, and abilities they need to serve effectively. 

AGS topics are selected for their relevance and faculty are selected for their deep expertise and their ability to relate to the audience of directors and their concerns. In every AGS module directors work with expert faculty and peer directors from other cooperative boards in a rich, interactive learning environment to gain practical knowledge and skills that are immediately applicable in the boardroom. 

Directors who elect to complete the certification curriculum receive the Advanced Governance Series Director Certification – a distinction among cooperative directors that demonstrates their commitment to governance effectiveness and the long-term success of their cooperative.

Addressing Areas Essential to Excellence in Cooperative Governance

Each curriculum module gives directors a solid foundation for board governance and decision-making in important areas, including:

  • Excellence in Board Leadership

    This module focuses on developing director knowledge and skills around the board’s role in leadership. Directors explore the board’s role and relationship with the CEO and management and develop insight and skills relating to board dynamics and effectiveness, including the impact of personal leadership styles, social and emotional intelligence, and meeting interaction.

  • The Board’s Role in Strategy

    This module delves into the art and science of strategy and the complementary roles board and management play in organizational strategy. Directors learn key concepts for setting long term direction of the organization and overseeing execution of strategic plans and risk mitigation effectively.

  • Financial Direction of the Enterprise and Managing Risk

    This module addresses the board’s role in financial strategy and risk within the context of the organization’s growth strategy and the external environment. The module is geared to help directors understand how to approach financial decisions effectively in the context of risk and opportunity.

  • Human Capital Resource & Risk: The Board’s Role

    This module focuses on the board’s role in key areas of human capital such as CEO succession planning and selection, CEO performance management, and executive compensation. It also covers the board’s role in policy-setting and oversight of organizational talent and culture, in terms of both opportunity and risk.

  • Technology Disruption & Cyber Risk: The Board’s Role

    This module gives directors the knowledge and skills they need to provide more effective oversight and long-term direction in the areas of technology disruption and cyber risk. With the rapidly evolving and turbulent dynamics in tech and cyber, directors gain important information and skills to understand trends and to provide appropriate oversight and input for both long-term direction and risk.

  • The Gettysburg Leadership Experience for Directors and Executive Management

    This experiential module in Gettysburg uses the Battle of Gettysburg and the leadership styles and choices of its leaders to explore important elements of leadership for board members and executive managers. Directors learn important leadership lessons from expert faculty in the classroom (including Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of Dwight D. Eisenhower) and senior battlefield guides in the field – lessons they can apply immediately in the boardroom and to their lives.

  • The Lewis & Clark Experience: Leadership into the Unknown for Directors and Executive Management

    In this experiential program in Great Falls, Montana, directors and executive managers learn important skills for leading their organizations into the unknown and rapidly-changing future. Imagining a Different Future… Portaging into the Unknown… Creating a Lasting Legacy: these pivotal themes come alive in this course that explores Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s 1803 expedition into the uncharted West, along with a view into the unknown future from our faculty, a professional futurist.

To get started in Advanced Governance Series (AGS), and for more information, contact Leslie Hilton, VP Board Governance at

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