“I learned to always take on things I'd never done before. Growth and comfort do not coexist.”

- Ginni Rometty, CEO, IBM

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the American Institute of Certified Board Advisors?

American Institute of Certified Board Advisors (AICBA) is a certification (the Certified Board Advisor™) research, education and advocacy group dedicated to improving strategic decision making as well as developing effective corporate oversight strategies and skills for current and future corporate directors as well as their key advisors.

Why was the CBA certification program established?

The program was established to equip current board members, prospective board members, and trusted board advisors with a rational set of principles and skills to drive robust oversight of any corporate enterprise. Our overriding goal is to have board membership become a professional activity.

The primary role of the Certified Board Advisor™ is to be the voice of reason on the board that they serve or advise. We believe that the CBA plays an important role that insures competent decision making and helps provide adequate defense against corporate corruption, abuse of executive power, and gross mismanagement.

How will a CBA designation help me professionally?

As a Certified Board Advisor (CBA), you are an experienced professional who demonstrates to the world a superior level of technical excellence, broad educational accomplishment as well as strategic decision making and crisis management capabilities. These qualities, along with a commitment to business integrity, make you, as a CBA, both an outstanding candidate for Corporate Board Directorship and for the role of a trusted advisor.

As a Certified Board Advisor you will be seen as better prepared and better informed to handle specific corporate oversight issues as they arise. You will be able to help drive informed board decisions for the benefit of all stakeholders. Your CBA credential will differentiate you from others who may not have the breadth and depth of training or experience to be formally recognized as an effective board member or advisor.

How do I get started finding a Board Seat?

While it’s neither as simple nor as difficult as people think, landing your first board seat is no easy matter. It’s going to require work. Sending your Curriculum Vitae (CV) or resume to a search firm is not enough. Some search firms will add your CV to their data base and that’s where it will stay. Meeting with a recruiter to express your interest in board service will rarely yield a board placement.

The Institute believes that the best way to start your campaign is with small companies and local non-profits. These organizations usually welcome individuals who want to help them. They need and deserve Board members who can contribute to the goals and objectives of the organization.

Does the CBA assume the role of “devil’s advocate” on the board they may advise or serve?

Yes, A CBA should be equipped to take the lead and drive critical thinking and reality testing for all major decisions the board will be making. You will help protect the board from “group think” that is so common on many boards today.

Will becoming a CBA help me to better understand what is going on inside the company I serve?

Yes, but knowing the “ins and outs” of each operation is not realistic. What is realistic is that you as a CBA can assume the role of an informed and trusted advisor who is not afraid to ask tough questions of the CEO along with the management group and critically evaluate the answers.

Does the American Institute for Certified Board Advisors believe that the majority of decline in a company’s performance is internally generated?

Based on our research and experience we maintain that bad management, usually demonstrated by incompetence, lack of vision or displaced activity (especially in challenging market environments), leads to business decline and threatens strategic integrity. We want you, the CBA, to be the voice in the boardroom whose inquiries may lead to a change in decision making that will protect the company, its employees, its business, and the shareholders.

In general what has AICBA found to be the number one cause or reason that both a company and its board become ineffective?

There are many reasons but complacency and a lack of hard-edged board skills seem to be the primary root causes. Complacency leads to overconfidence and organizational laziness. The lack of specific skills leads to a timid approach in challenging leadership decisions. In the extreme, this can lead to unethical and in some cases illegal activities. All organizations have momentum. It’s the task of the CBA to help insure the organization is moving in the proper direction.

What must I do to become a CBA?

The Certified Board Advisor™ (CBA) designation is a capstone certification denoting that the you have proven technical skills as well as board vision necessary to direct a modern enterprise and provide effective executive and corporate oversight.

There are two paths to certification:

  • Professional Achievement Certification under the current By-Laws AICBA, or
  • Examination.

The Institute is currently developing the CBA Exam for administration beginning after 2021.

We encourage all experienced candidates to submit an application for Certification via our Professional Achievement Certification criteria. Key elements for the CBA Professional Achievement Certification Program include:

  • High moral character.
  • Significant educational attainment.
  • Proven professional and executive expertise.
  • Board Work.
  • Personal & Professional Conduct.
  • Significant experience and accomplishments.

AICBA considers a wide spectrum of experience from staff to executive level from various functions such as accounting, finance, information technology, engineering, sales, marketing, operations, human resources, etc. and from industry, the professions and government.

Please refer to the CBA Application Form for specifics.

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