Join Shelagh Donnelly for
Inside Boardrooms: The Wonderful World of Governance Careers 

28th September 2023


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  • Course length: 4 hours
  • Course type: Online course
  • 28th September 2023
  • 14:00 (GMT), 15:00 (CET), 09:00 (ET), 06:00 (PT)

Entering the world of governance is somewhat like enrolling in business school, except you’re being compensated rather than paying tuition. You’ll develop professionally as you work alongside accomplished people. Increasingly, the people who support boards are referred to as governance professionals, which speaks to expectations and opportunities within the career. While some boards require specific credentials of their governance professionals, many high performing EAs without law or other degrees have made their way into stimulating and rewarding roles supporting boards. Whether or not you support or aspire to support a board, you’ll elevate your business insights through this masterclass.


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About the Trainer

Headshot Shelagh Donnelly

Shelagh Donnelly

Professional Speaker | Founder, Exceptional EA

Authentic, expert and inspiring, Shelagh (pronounced “Sheila”) Donnelly designs and delivers training that supports success. She’s in demand internationally for her presentations on resilience, communications, influence, meeting effectiveness, minutes, cybersecurity, governance and more.

Shelagh customises training for corporations such as the NBA and for conference organisers, utility providers, government, healthcare, education and governance bodies.

A professional speaker and trainer who walked your walk for almost three decades, Shelagh understands that careers evolve. At 21, she was a direct report to a private sector COO. She left that role to become a software trainer within the same corporation. With a young family, Shelagh returned to the career in her thirties.

Shelagh’s career spanned economic booms and recessions, and a corporate merger. She understands how to navigate, survive and thrive in times of uncertainty and change, and has a healthy sense of humour. She’s been a direct report to four CEOs. She honed her governance expertise in the last decade of her office career and was accountable to four board Chairs. She’s established internal networks, led multiple projects, had the benefit of her own assistants, and chaired a national board of directors.

Shelagh founded and has been publishing her globally read Exceptional EA website since 2013.

About the Event

Course Contents

Together, we’ll delve into expectations of today’s boards and those who support them. Credibility in the role hinges in part on a clear understanding of governance. We’ll discuss board accountability and the roles of governance professionals, the board and management. In the first portion of this masterclass, we’ll focus on governance principles, priorities, roles and responsibilities. You’ll build a good understanding of the extent to which governance has evolved in the 2020s.   

After a break, we’ll look at how to succeed in the world of governance – and transferrable skills EAs can bring to the role. Just as expectations of boards and their members are high, your contributions to the board’s success are also held to an elevated standard. Liaising with multiple stakeholders, you may draw on influence rather than formal authority to get things done. Social awareness, relationship management and credibility are crucial to building and maintaining stakeholders’ trust and confidence. Shelagh will prepare you to audit your communications as well as board and committee packages.   

You may have a role in CEO or President succession planning and transitions. Before wrapping up this portion of our masterclass and turning to your questions, we’ll explore navigating board and senior management changes. 

Learning Objectives

  • Confidence through knowledge: an introduction to governance  
  • Transferable skills that support EAs’ success as governance professionals  
  • The governance professional as a liaison between multiple stakeholders  
  • Building trust and credibility with a diverse group of high achievers  
  • Managing stakeholder relations and expectations  
  • Navigating board, board Chair and C-Suite transitions 

Who Must Attend This Masterclass?

Whether you support a board, aspire to such a role or find yourself collaborating on reports for your board, you need to attend this masterclass. Anyone who wants to elevate their acumen or is exploring governance practices for your network/professional association board – or a run for office yourself – will also come away knowing you’ve invested your time wisely.   

Post-Event Support

Shelagh will provide a workbook to all attendees and access to her governance articles. Attendees can also contact Shelagh for a two-week period after the masterclass has ended.   

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What our attendees say:

“Shelagh is the number one world trainer when it comes to quality governance training for EAs. I have taken several classes from Shelagh and count on her for all things governance. Shelagh shares personal stories and strategies that have taken me to a new level as a high-performing Executive Assistant to the Board of Trustees. Shelagh's knowledge of governance best practices is from her experience as an EA working with boards, so she knows what we need and shares the tools that made her so successful. I highly recommend Shelagh for training if you aspire to be an expert your board will rely on for governance best practices"
Jacqueline M. Leib, CAP; Executive Assistant to the Head of School and Board of Trustees, USA  
"I have attended online classes with Shelagh. She’s an amazing speaker and trainer. With eloquence and clarity (I am not a native English speaker), she explains very complicated topics such as governance and cybersecurity to a non-expert audience. She's innovative and always brings a new approach to her lessons. And above all, her webinars are full of very useful tips."
Carla Stefanut, Executive Management Assistant, Italy
“It amazes me how much expertise, knowledge and energy is ever present in Shelagh. Her professional conduct is coupled with a compassionate personality that translates into her being a highly skilled trainer, someone I would recommend not only in that capacity but also as, e.g., a mentor. She is a true advocate of the management professional profession, going above and beyond the expected and as such is admired and respected.”
Nina Aunula, Executive Chair, International Management Assistants (IMA), Finland
The delightful and energetic Shelagh spoke at two BBO PA Network events in 2022 – one online and one face to face. Shelagh also joined us on a panel at The Savoy in London. Shelagh has an infectious energy about her, she's personable and engaging and is able to get everyone in the room listening and learning in a way that’s fun, fast paced and, most importantly, memorable. We loved working with Shelagh and have a great relationship with her; we've already booked a return session for the network for 2023.
Sarah Howson, Co-Founder and Director, Strategic PA Recruitment; Founder and Director, BBO PA Network, England 
I found Shelagh to be a quintessential professional whose knowledge of our profession is boundless. Shelagh is a fantastic speaker and commands the attention of the room when she speaks. I am so grateful to have met her and look forward to learning more from her in the future.
Priscilia Gough, Chief of Staff, Canada
I have been following Shelagh and her work with Exceptional EA for quite some time, and this year had the pleasure of meeting Shelagh in person! … Her desire to teach and empower individuals to truly thrive in all facets of their career was evident yet presented in a manner that was engaging, funny and incredibly informative. Off the stage her charisma, charm and wit were contagious, she just made you feel like you were heard and valued. I would highly recommend Shelagh as a keynote speaker, team collaborator or writer and someone you just "need to know"!
Christa Hiebert, EA and Office Manager, Canada

Looking to bring a group?

We offer group discounts, and we can offer custom solutions!  Talk through your training requirements with one of our friendly team and let us work with you to design a programme to suit your needs. Contact us here >

Buy Your Ticket

Online Course
USD $235

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4-hour online course
60-day access to the recordings after the event
Includes Q&A with Shelagh
Interactive chat with Shelagh and your peers


Looking to bring a group?

We offer group discounts, and we can offer custom solutions!  Talk through your training requirements with one of our friendly team and let us work with you to design a programme to suit your needs. Contact us here >

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