NACD Board Leadership Conference NACD Chapter System

Strategic Growth: Plans, Disruptors, Innovators, M&A and Governance

April 12, 2017
Washington, DC



Strategic growth is one of the highest priorities for most organizations. Boards carry the full duties of growth risks, governance, and shareholder value protection. With over 70 percent of M&A transactions failing to deliver expected shareholder value, and a high percentage of growth “investments” underperforming, how do boards truly fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities in this complex strategic growth space?  

How might the board best evaluate strategic growth options without interfering with the duties and responsibilities of management? What tools are available to the board to assess the risks tied to strategic growth choices? What are best practices for boards and committees in the oversight of strategic growth?

You will not want to miss this program featuring world-class panelists who will stimulate new thinking and provide insightful responses to your questions. Our panelists include:

  • Gordon O’Brien, Founder of September Partners; previously President-Specialty Finance, European Private Finance and Operations at American Capital
  • Jim Schleckser, CEO of the Inc. CEO Project, Speaker and bestselling author
  • Dale Stafford, a Partner in Bain & Company's Washington, D.C. office. Dale is the leader of Bain's Americas Mergers & Acquisitions practice and a senior partner in the firm's Healthcare practice

Please join your fellow directors for excellent networking followed by a thought provoking examination of Strategic Growth: Plans, Disruptors, Innovators, M&A and Governance. Arrive prepared to experience the exceptional hospitality of KPMG, our gracious host for this event.


  • Questions directors should ask management and fellow directors
  • How to get to the heart of sustainable “competitive advantage” and the ability to “win” in highly competitive marketplaces
  • Tools and processes for directors to evaluate the risks in growth options
  • Best practices and lessons learned to enable directors to fulfill their duties to govern growth risks and protect shareholder value creation
  • How to integrate strategic growth governance within board committees



Location and Time


1801 K St NW
Washington, DC 20036

Networking and Cocktails: 5:30pm-6:00pm

Program: 6:00pm-7:30pm

Post-program Reception: 7:30pm-8:00pm

Speaker Spotlight

Gordon J. O'Brien

Gordon J. O'Brien

In January 2017, Gordon O’Brien formed September First Capital Partners. Previously, he worked at American Capital as President-Specialty Finance, European Private Finance and Operations. He joined American Capital in October 1998 as a Principal, was promoted to Senior Vice President and Managing Director in 2001 and became a member of the Investment Committee in 2002. In July 2008, he was promoted to President.

From 1995 to 1998, Mr. O'Brien was Vice President at Pennington Partners & Company, a private equity firm with $90 million under management. There, Mr. O'Brien was responsible for structuring private equity investments, conducting due diligence, negotiating debt agreements and managing portfolio companies.

Prior to his tenure at Pennington Partners, Mr. O'Brien worked at Golder, Thoma, Cressey, Rauner, Inc., a private equity firm with $700 million under management and before that at Chemical Bank in Chicago. Before joining Chemical, Mr. O'Brien was co-owner of a door manufacturing company in Australia. Mr. O'Brien has participated in various transactions in the funeral home, food service, institutional pharmacy, logistics and cable and wire industries.

Mr. O'Brien holds a graduate degree in business from the University of Chicago and an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business.

Dale Stafford

Dale Stafford

Dale Stafford is a partner in Bain & Company's Washington, D.C. office. He is the leader of Bain's Americas Mergers & Acquisitions practice and a senior partner in the firm's Healthcare practice. He has more than 20 years of management consulting experience, advising leading companies on their biggest challenges and opportunities.

Dale has led successful merger integrations in a variety of industries, including airlines, transportation, pharmaceuticals, professional services, wholesale distribution, telecommunications, cable, software and consumer products. In addition, he has extensive experience developing growth strategies to help insurers and healthcare technology companies outperform.

Prior to joining Bain, Dale worked in strategy at Coca-Cola Enterprises. He started his career as a designer/developer of software for healthcare companies.

Dale studied business strategy at the Leipzig School of Management in Germany and earned an MBA at Emory University, where he was a Woodruff Scholar. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor of Science in mathematics.

Jim Schleckser

Jim Schleckser

Jim is the CEO of the Inc. CEO Project and helps leaders grow companies. He specializes in the issues that fast growth firms experience in their business models, talent, processes and systems as they reach higher levels of performance. Jim and his team work with over 100 CEOs of high growth companies to identify and obliterate the things that stand between them and continued organizational success.

With 30 years of leadership in business, he brings experience in leading global organizations in both public and private environments across many functional areas to the table. He has been quoted in the New York Times, Time, Huffington Post and National Public Radio. His ideas have been translated into 9 languages and he has done business in over 27 countries.

Jim Schleckser is the author of the best-selling published book, "Great CEOs are Lazy", detailing the behaviors that make the difference in CEO performance. You can get more information at

His insight is sought by dozens of CEOs of growth companies around the country. If you want straight, strategic advice on your business problem - you have found your guy.

He has a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware and an MBA in Marketing and Finance from the University of Connecticut.

He serves on the board of Defenders as the Chair of Talent & Compensation and previously as the Chair of Governance and Nominating. He also serves on the board of Daniel Defense and Youth with a Mission - San Pedro, DR. He has previously served on the board of Hanover Research.

He is a soccer player, Cross Fitter, prolific reader and outdoorsman. He resides in Potomac, Maryland.



Question about this Event?

Contact NACD Capital Area Chapter 400 North Washington Street, Suite 300, Alexandria, VA, 22314 phone: 703-683-4035 email: