The role of Service Providers in the Society
As the corporate governance role has grown and become more important over the years, the number and types of firms that provide services to the corporate governance community has also increased. These Service Providers are vital in sustaining the Society’s mission by providing financial support through their sponsorship of programs and services; through sharing their experiences, knowledge and thought leadership at the Society’s national and chapter events, on the Society’s website and in other publications; and by their promotion of Society membership and events to their clients, contacts and colleagues in the governance community.
The Society views Service Providers’ engagement and involvement as a valued benefit to its members. The Society truly appreciates the contributions of those Service Providers that share both in spirit and word the Society’s mission: “Shaping governance through education, collaboration and advocacy” and its vision: “Creating long-term shareholder value through better governance.” The Society welcomes participation by Service Providers without regard to the type of service provided or how support is given. It will continue to work together in close partnership with the Service Provider community to shape and advance corporate governance.
The Society plans and hosts numerous national and local events, projects and initiatives for its members for their continuing education and professional development and for the enrichment of its professional community. These educational and professional development events and services would not be possible without the financial and logistical assistance of the many Service Providers that perform a wide array of functions to assist those in a Corporate Secretary or other governance role.
Sponsorships are solicited from all known Service Providers and are typically awarded impartially. However, there are circumstances in which the National Office exercises some discretion: (i) previous sponsors are often solicited first and (ii) sponsorships may be rotated among a specific group of industry Service Providers as circumstances dictate. The booth assignment process for the National Conference and the date and time exhibit booth applications are opened is announced and well-publicized. Booths are assigned on a strictly “first-come, first-served” – and paid – basis, in the order applications are received after the announced date and time.
Occasionally, sponsors may have special competitive considerations or requests for exclusivity. Like all requests, these will be accommodated as long as they are modest, infrequent, do not bind the Society’s other activities with respect to other Service Providers and members and are consistent with the Society’s educational and professional development efforts for its members.
To maintain its status as a nonprofit 501(c)(6) with the IRS, sponsorships cannot take the form of advertising. Advertising is understood as including qualitative or comparative language (including criticisms of other Service Providers’ products or services); price information or indications of saving or value; or a call to purchase, sell or use the sponsor’s products or services. The Society also cannot endorse specific products or services.
The Society understands that while many events are well-established in the Society’s annual calendar, some of the best new events and services are proposed by members, chapters and Service Providers. As long as they are inclusive, are relevant to Society members and are of a high-quality befitting the Society and its members, these new initiatives will be encouraged and cultivated.
The Society’s member and registration list sharing policy
As part of its membership and event registration processes, the Society collects personal and business information about its members including name, business address, phone number and email address. Occasionally, members provide the Society with their home or personal email address. Because the Society values the privacy of its members, its member list is not available for sale or rent to any external entity; nor will it be shared with any third party.
All members have access to the member directory on the Society’s website, which includes the membership information provided. Use of this directory is intended for and limited to personal and confidential networking between individual members. At no time is this list to be used in any way for direct marketing, including but not limited to telephonic solicitation, direct mail, or direct email.
To encourage engagement at its events, the Society will often provide a list of registrants to exhibitors, sponsors and other registrants of those events for single use prior to that event and again for a single use after the event. This typically can include name, business postal address and business email address. Event registrants are given the option to opt-out of this use of their email address.
How panelists and speakers are selected
Programming at the Society’s National Conference and Essentials programs is overseen by the National Conference Committee (members of which are chosen by the Chair who is appointed by the Nominating and Governance Committee) and the Chairs of each event, respectively, in conjunction with the National Office Events staff and the Educational Programs Committee. The National Conference Committee identifies topics for each event, then suggests categories of speakers for each panel, usually based on the speaker’s job description. The Society and the National Conference Committee strive to use a variety of speakers and prioritize those that are the most knowledgeable in their field.
Many Service Providers are in a unique position to contribute their experience and knowledge to conference attendees by speaking on panels. National Conference Committee members, Society staff and Chapter leaders are expected to be inclusive when planning events and to consider including Service Providers on panels when appropriate because of the value they would add to the topic(s) being discussed. Consideration should be given to panel diversity, new speakers and to those who haven’t recently had an opportunity to speak.
This process is transparent and wholly separate from the Society’s sponsorship activities. Service Providers cannot “pay to play” and should not expect to be invited to speak on a panel because they are a sponsor. Service Providers should not sponsor a panel in which they are participating nor in any other way appear to have received special consideration in exchange for a sponsorship.
Conduct of all the Society’s speakers and panelists should be to impart information and knowledge. Service providers should not promote their specific products and services. Speaking at a Society event is not a sales opportunity, but a chance to lead a broader discussion. This principle is taken very seriously so as to maintain the very high quality of the Society’s events. Any service provider presenter who misuses his or her speaking role in this way may be asked not to present again.
Adopted by the Society's Board of Governors at its February 2, 2018 meeting.